After some 9000 miles of travel, the two giant pandas on loan from China for ten years, Huan Huan Zi and Yuan, arrived Sunday afternoon at the Beauval Zoo, in the Loir-et-Cher.
Huan Huan Yuan and Zi are the first pandas welcomed in France since 1973. The "Panda Express", a plane specially chartered by the company Fedex landed on the tarmac just before noon, to the applause of the staff of Fedex and Beauval Zoo, mobilized on the operation. The Boeing 777 carrying the pair of F teddy bear eyes outlined in black avai off in the night from Saturday to Sunday at 1:30 (French time) from the airport in Chengdu, central China, in Sichuan Province
Before the gain altitude, the captain had planned a nonstop flight of exactly 10 hours and 17 minutes. The two pandas, the first who invite themselves in the Hexagon for 12 years and the death of Tien Tien Zoo de Vincennes, then go on Sunday afternoon, reach truck Beauval Zoo in Saint-Aignan (Loir -et-Cher).
"I did not sleep all night, I was too excited by the adventure"
The aircraft was specially chartered for them, made freely available by FedEx, the world leader in express transportation that is offered then a nice publicity stunt. Not far from the cockpit, the vast face of an adorable giant panda has been affixed to the cabin. On board the aircraft, two animals and humans 7: three experienced pilots who have responsibilities within the U.S. multinational, a veterinarian and a trainer Chinese (both usually officiating at the Research Centre and reproduction of pandas in Chengdu ), a security guard and Rodolphe Delord, director of the zoo of Beauval.
"I did not sleep all night, I was too excited by this adventure," he told us on the tarmac. Each panda is installed in a custom built container, ventilated through holes, with bay window and drain pan. The female allowed himself a nap at the time of boarding, indifferent to the flashes of photographers and television cameras projectors of Chinese who came out en masse for this great start. The male, lying quietly chewing him, bamboo sticks, as if nothing had happened.
For its first flight, the couple is bound to food. "We have apples and thirty pounds of bamboo, it will occupy them," smiled Li Liu, the Chinese veterinarian made the trip with the two pandas and watch over them for a few weeks in the Hexagon.