Shipping Pandas to China
Mei Lan the panda is on her way to Chengdu, China. She was born at Zoo Atlanta in 2006 under an agreement that all pandas in American zoos belong to China. Today she is being shipped to Washington DC, where she will join Tai Shan, the panda born at the National Zoo. The two will be the only cargo aboard a FedEx 14-hour non-stop flight to China.
After a caravan to the airport and a ride past dozens of waiting photographers, Mei Lan was lifted into the 777 Freighter emblazoned with panda logos. Shortly after 8 a.m., the door was closed, the plane taxied and the flight took off.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed agreed it was fine to be “reflective, or even wistful” about Mei Lan’s departure, but important, too, to remember that she’s a healthy member of an endangered species, and by moving to China, she can help her kind survive. (Reeds advice to her: “be fruitful and multiply.”) Scientists estimate there are about 1,600 Giant Pandas in the wild. About 300 live in captivity, mostly in China.
More on Mei Lan.
More on Tai Shan.