Bao Bao the 3½ year-old giant panda was flown this week by FedEx Express from Washington Dulles International Airport to Chengdu, China.
She departed the Smithsonian’s National Zoo to board a FedEx Boeing 777 Freighter, which took about 16 hours and was 8,650 miles to the Far East and had her own custom-decaled and named the ‘FedEx Panda Express’.
Boa Bao (pictured below) was given a final feed before leaving of bamboo and 5.4 (150 grams) leafeater biscuits and spent time in her outdoor habitat.
FedEx president and chief operation officer, Dave Bronczek says: “At FedEx, we take great pride in using our global networks to move precious cargo around the world. Through our charitable shipping program, we are honored to be entrusted with Bao Bao’s journey to her new home in China.
“Our team of skilled logistics experts, pilots and drivers are honored to support the efforts to preserve this beloved, rare animal. I extend a special thanks to our team members who go above and beyond every single day to make a positive impact in our communities.”
In 2010, FedEx Express transported Bao Bao’s brother Tai Shan from The National Zoo to the China Conservation and Research Center in Chendgdu. FedEx Express also provided the transport for Bao Bao’s parents, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, from China to the US in 2000.
Upon arrival in Chengdu, Bao Bao’s new keepers from China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda will drive her to Dujiangyan Panda Base where she will stay in quarantine for approximately 30 days. Bao Bao will enter the giant panda breeding program when she reaches sexual maturity between five and six years old.
Giant pandas are listed as ‘vulnerable’ in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and there are now only an estimated 1,800 in the wild.
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is a leader in giant panda conservation.