DHL today (February 23) sent off two giant pandas from Chengdu to Brussels, using a dedicated DHL Air (UK) (East Midlands) Boeing 767-300 freighter aircraft. Their departure marks the start of a 15-year cooperation of giant panda breeding research between China and Belgium. The female, Hao Hao, and the male, Xing Hui, both aged four, are expected to be delivered via DHL’s global transportation network to their new home at the Pairi Daiza animal sanctuary in Brugelette, Belgium on February 23.
“The Pandastic journey from China Conservation Research Center of the Giant Panda’s Dujiangyan panda base to Belgium’s Pairi Daiza will be a little over 8,000 kilometers. We are extremely proud to be entrusted with transporting China’s friendship messengers. The pandas, Hao Hao and Xing Hui, are without a doubt our VIPs — Very Important Pandas. A DHL team of specialists has worked with panda experts in China and Brussels to research and plan for their journey,” said Jerry Hsu, Chief Executive Officer of DHL Express Asia Pacific.
‘Hao Hao and Xing Hui’s Pandastic Journey’ started at the China Conservation & Research Center for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP) in Chengdu, China at 11:45 am on February 22, and will end with a delivery to a specially constructed Chinese Garden at Pairi Daiza, Belgium the following day. The two giant pandas were flown from China to Belgium on a dedicated DHL B767 freighter aircraft, accompanied by a team of two animal handlers, a veterinary physician and a plentiful supply of 100 kilograms of bamboo.
The pandas are expected to spend 15 years at Pairi Daiza, a 55-acre garden that plays host to over 5 000 animals. With the support of the University of Ghent, a special breeding and research program has been designed, aimed at helping to avert the future extinction of this endangered species.
To ensure an easy and comfortable journey, DHL and China Conservation & Research Center for the Giant Panda created bespoke travelling crates spacious enough for pandas to stay comfortable throughout the journey. The cages were also designed with a special roof in the style of ancient Chinese architecture.
“The panda is China’s national treasure, and also a messenger of friendship and peace,” said Wu Dongming, Managing Director of DHL-Sinotrans and Executive Vice President of DHL Express Asia-Pacific. “We are deeply honored for having been selected to transport Hao Hao and Xing Hui. With strong transportation expertise and capabilities, we believe DHL will carry out a Pandastic Journey with the utmost care and consideration.”
DHL has supported a number of conservation projects in recent years, including the return of nine silverback gorillas from the UK to the wild in Gabon, the delivery of two rare Sumatran tigers from the Australia and the US to ZSL London Zoo for a breeding program. Last year, DHL also provided expert logistics and both ground and air transportation to relocate several endangered Florida manatees.
Copyright Photos: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. The specially-marked Boeing 767-3JHF ER G-DHLG (msn 37807) of DHL Air (UK) arrives at Brussels with the two honored guests.