Lufthansa Cargo to Give Big Pandas 1st Class Treatment

It’s not often that big panda bears get the chance to fly first class. This seems however to be the case for Chinese panda’s being readied for shipment from China to Germany.

All set for the bear’s flight: boarding passes held up by Berlin Zoo’s Vet Andreas Ochs (left) and LH Cargo’s Joerg Bodenroeder  -  credit: LH Cargo
All set for the bear’s flight: boarding passes held up by Berlin Zoo’s Vet Andreas Ochs (left) and LH Cargo’s Joerg Bodenroeder - credit: LH Cargo

New panda facility to be opened in Berlin
The 24th of June is the date planned for the arrival of a Lufthansa Cargo MD-11F to ar-rive at Berlin’s Schoenefeld Airport from the Chinese city of Chengdu
A lot of fuss one might think, just for the transport of two giant pandas.
However, as most know, despite their size, these wonderful animals are quite sensitive and need very special attention on their long journey to the Berlin Zoo.

Once “in town,” Meng Meng and Jiao Qing, as the two are named, will be transferred to Berlin Zoo’s brand new panda facility which is slated to be ceremoniously opened by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

A lot of special attention beforehand
However - before the two can be bedded down nicely in their new luxury home, a lot has to be done to get them there safely and in good health.
This includes the service they will get on board the LH Cargo MD-11F flight which takes almost twelve-and-a half hours from Chengdu to Berlin, including a technical stop in Novosibirsk, Siberia.

Joerg Bodenroeder, Lufthansa Cargo’s Head of Animal Transport, who has been with the carrier since 2001 has overseen many animal transport operations.
He commented that “zoo animals present a particular challenge, often due to their size alone, but we are well up to the task.”

Bamboo snacks are “served” on board the MD-11F
The two giant pandas will be accompanied by two animal specialists from Chengdu along with Berlin Zoo’s chief veterinarian Dr Andreas Ochs.
Along the way, they will be fed at regular intervals with their favourite bamboo snacks and drinks.
A novelty for them both will be their own special toilet which are absorbent mats installed in the containers so that while having “done their business,” they will remain dry and fresh for their entry to Berlin.

Well worth visiting both of them in Berlin Zoo in the future.

John Mc Donagh

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