Home » Features, Press Releases » Chinese Pandas touch down in Paris on the “FedEx Panda Express”

Yuan Zi enjoys a pre-departure snack of bamboo on board the FedEx Panda Express Boeing 777F

FedEx Panda Express Boeing 777F ready for take off

Giant Pandas Arrive in France for the First Time in 10 Years

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), announced the safe arrival of two three-year-old giant pandas, Huan Huan and Yuan Zi, from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China to Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport in France.

Working in conjunction with ZooParc de Beauval, the specially-chartered Boeing 777F flight known as the “FedEx Panda Express” landed in Paris on January 15 at 12:00 noon (local time). The arrival of these Chinese ambassadors marks the first time in 10 years that giant pandas will reside in France.

The non-stop flight was chartered especially for the VIPs—Very Important Pandas—and the pair travelled in custom-built enclosures provided by FedEx Express.  While in flight, Huan Huan and Yuan Zi spent the journey snoozing and eating bamboo.  They were accompanied by a Chinese veterinarian and animal handler as well as the managing director from ZooParc de Beauval to look after their needs throughout the journey.

“FedEx Express is uniquely qualified to fly special cargo,” said David L. Cunningham Jr., president, FedEx Express Asia Pacific.  “In addition to FedEx extensive experience in handling shipments between China and France, our Boeing 777F allowed Huan Huan and Yuan Zi to travel in comfort and arrive in Paris in the fastest time possible “

FedEx Express provided logistical services for the transportation, providing an expert team to ensure the rare animals’ safety.  During the flight, the pandas were in the safe hands of seasoned pilots Captain Paul Cassel, Captain Tom Jenkins and Captain John Hunt, who all have extensive experience in transporting some of the world’s most precious cargo, ranging from white rhinos to penguins.

“It was an absolute privilege and honor to fly Huan Huan and Yuan Zi, and to be part of this significant moment to bring the pandas to their new home in France,” said Captain Paul Cassell.  “Although every flight is unique, this flight has been particularly special—carrying such rare animals made the journey very exciting for all of us.”

The pandas continued their journey in FedEx Express vehicles to their new home at ZooParc de Beauval.  French authorities were also on hand to ensure a smooth ride.  Upon arrival, the pandas will reside together in the zoo’s new magnificent Chinese area in a specially-built giant panda enclosure.

People can follow the final leg of the pandas’ journey at http://blog.fedex.com/panda-express2012 and http://news.fedex.com/PandaExpress2012.

FedEx Express Transports Many Unusual Shipments

FedEx Express has a long history of transporting rare and delicate cargo. In December 2011, FedEx Express transported Tian Tian, a female panda and Yang Guang, a male panda to Edinburgh Zoo in the United Kingdom.  In February 2010, FedEx Express transported Tai Shan, a male panda born at the National Zoo in Washington D.C., U.S., and Mei Lan, a female panda born at Zoo Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., back to China.  In 2003, FedEx Express transported two giant pandas from China to the Memphis Zoo, Tennessee, U.S.  In 2000, FedEx Express transported Tai Shan’s parents from China to Washington D.C.’s National Zoo.

Exotic cargo transported by FedEx Express has included polar bears, white tigers, elephants, penguins, mountain lions, gorillas, eagles and even a 13-foot tiger shark used in filming the movie “Jaws.”

Other unusual international cargo transported by FedEx includes a windmill from Denmark, the Ryder Cup and a vintage Jaguar Le Mans car worth more than £1 million.

From the Philippines, FedEx transported to Spain an eight-ton statue of Filipino war hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal, who inspired the 1986 revolution against Spanish domination. FedEx also shipped a giant lantern from the Philippines to Taiwan as part of the Asian Lantern Festival celebrations.

About ZooParc de Beauval

Classed amongst the 15 most beautiful zoos in the world and home to the largest collection of animals in France (4,600 animals), the ZooParc de Beauval is heavily involved in the protection of endangered species, hosting rare and unique animals in France such as manatees, koalas or okapis, to name but a few.  The zoo is well known for the quality of its facilities and also for its high number of births (approximately 350 each year), which is a sign of hope for species threatened with extinction in the wild.

Classed as “endangered” by the IUCN red list of threatened species (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), the giant panda is a universal symbol for the conservation of endangered species.  The giant pandas will represent a very important flagship for Beauval, as it will not only attract many visitors, but it will be a living message and proof of wildlife protection.  To find out more, please visit: www.zoobeauval.com

 

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