On November 9, 2023. three giant pandas, including 25-year-old Mei Xiang, 26-year-old Tian Tian, and their three-year-old cub, Xiao Qi Ji, arrived in Chengdu, China on a FedEx Express charter flight from Washington, D.C.
Working with the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, the giant pandas began their journey on November 8 and traveled via a FedEx Express Boeing 777F (N886FD), dubbed the “FedEx Panda Express.”
The shipping and logistics company has long worked with the Chinese government and zoos around the world to safely ship giant pandas to and from China. FedEx is proud to donate the cost of transporting the pandas as part of its ongoing corporate social responsibility and environmental conservation efforts.
On their journey to China, the pandas were accompanied by animal care experts from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute and traveled in custom-built transport enclosures provided by FedEx. The pandas were the only cargo on the trans-Pacific flight from Washington’s Dulles International Airport to China’s Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, aside from supplies such as bamboo, water, and their favorite treats, including sugar cane, apples, and pears.
Before their trip, the pandas spent time getting familiar with their enclosures to ensure a safe and comfortable flight. Upon arrival in Chengdu, Mei Xiang, Tian Tian, and Xiao Qi Ji were greeted on the tarmac by their new keepers before moving to the Shenshuping facility in Wolong, where they will quarantine for approximately 30 days.
FedEx also provided trucking and logistical support in Washington, D.C. to safely transport the pandas from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo to the airport. Including this move, FedEx has had the privilege of transporting 15 different pandas on 10 separate flights over the past two decades, including transporting Mei Xiang and Tian Tian to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo from China in 2000 and their cubs from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo to China, including:
· Tai Shan in 2010
· Bao Bao in 2017
· Bei Bei in 2019
The other previous deliveries of giant pandas to and from China include:
· 2023: from USA to China
· 2013: from China to Canada
· 2012: from China to France
· 2011: from China to Scotland
· 2003: from China to USA