Zoo Tier-News

A first-class flight for Berlin’s pandas

Zoo Berlin and Lufthansa Cargo answer questions about our pandas’ journey to Germany

What is involved when transporting pandas by air? What are the in-flight meals like? And when will Berlin’s two new pandas finally be arriving?

Today, Lufthansa Cargo’s head of animal transport Jörg Bodenröder and Zoo Berlin’s head veterinarian Dr Andreas Ochs answered some of the most important questions about the transportation of two pandas to Berlin. The main question on everybody’s lips was: “When will the pandas be touching down?” The answer: 24 June at approximately 2 p.m. The precious panda pair will be accompanied on their flight from Chengdu to Berlin’s Schönefeld airport by two keepers from Chengdu as well as by Dr Ochs, who revealed some details about the journey: “Meng Meng and Jiao Qing will be provided with plenty of bamboo snacks during the flight. They will also have water to drink, of course. We will be able to visit the bears at all times throughout the journey to make sure they are okay.” The transport crate is lined with absorbent mats so that Mr and Mrs Panda can enjoy their journey in comfort with no unwelcome odours.

Whenever horses, dogs, rhinos, etc. need to be transported around the globe, Lufthansa Cargo ensures their safe loading and the best possible care en route. Its fleet of cargo planes and ships service more than 300 international destinations. The centrepiece of Lufthansa Cargo’s animal transportation infrastructure is its Animal Lounge in Frankfurt – the most advanced animal station in the world. “With 42 stalls for large animals, 39 dog pens, special climate-controlled chambers, and ultraviolet examination areas for ornamental fish, we have the right solution for every animal,” explains Bodenröder, who has worked at Lufthansa Cargo since 2001. “The creatures we transport most frequently are fish. Zoo animals present a particular challenge – often simply because of their size.”

Our pandas, however, won’t get to experience the Frankfurt Animal Lounge. The scheduled flight from Beijing to Frankfurt is making a special detour to pick up our two VIP passengers in Chengdu and drop them off in Berlin. The estimated flight time from Chengdu to Berlin via Novosibirsk is 12 hours and 20 minutes.

The countdown to the pandas’ arrival can be followed on the Zoo Berlin website: www.zoo-berlin.de/panda-blog