» This Story:Read +|Watch +|Talk +| Comments

Tai Shan: How do you ship a panda to China?

Video
A week before Tai Shan leaves for China, The Washington Post's Anna Uhls joins the keepers at the National Zoo to experience what it is like to live just one day in the life of D.C.'s beloved panda.

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
Dave Lange
Managing Director, Aircraft Charters, FedEx Express.
Friday, January 29, 2010; 1:00 PM

One week before the scheduled departure of Tai Shan for a new home in the mountains of central China, officials with the zoo and FedEx took time yesterday to describe exactly how he will get there.

This Story
View All Items in This Story
View Only Top Items in This Story

Tai Shan will fly Feb. 4 nonstop from Dulles International Airport aboard a giant FedEx 777F air freighter. The plane will be mostly empty, reserved especially for him and one other panda, and will have big black and white panda logos painted on its fuselage.

Dave Lange, managing director of aircraft charters at FedEx, was online Friday, Jan. 29, at 1 p.m. ET to discuss all the details of Tai Shan's 8,642 mile airplane journey to his new home in the mountains of central China.

____________________

Dave Lange: Hi, Dave Lange here, Director of FedEx Charters, I'm here to discuss Tai Shan and Mei Lan's trip to China next week.

_______________________

Fairfax, Va.: Are preparations being made now for the Feb. 4 trip? Is the plane being loaded soon? Will Tai Shan have a fellow panda passenger?

Dave Lange: FedEx Team members and the Zoo's in Atlanta and Washington having been working over the past few weeks to prepare for the flight next week. The flight will be loaded the morning of departure and Mei Lan will travel with Tai Shan on the flight to China

_______________________

Philadelphia, Pa.: This is probably a stupid question, but I ask because I honestly do not know. Should severe problems develop with the airplane, is there a means to parachute the package with the panda out of the airplane? If so, how dangerous would that be?

Dave Lange: We have contingency plans in place in the event we need to change the flight plan.

_______________________

Alexandria, Va.: Are you going to punch air holes in the Fed Ex box so the panda can breathe ?

Dave Lange: The pandas will be traveling in a custom-made enclosures that will allow access to the animal care experts on board. The pandas will have access to food and water and other enrichment items during the trip.

_______________________

Anonymous: How will Tai Shan get from the zoo to the airport? Once on the plane, will he be sedated?

Dave Lange: He will be transported in a FedEx vehicle from the Zoo to the FedEx Ramp at the airport. I have no information regarding sedation, that is a question for the animal care experts!

_______________________

washingtonpost.com: Image: FedEx panda express

_______________________

Wellesley, Mass.: I am curious why does FedEx choose the Atlantic route to China? I fly to China 4-5 times a year. All U.S.-China commercial flights go through either North Pole route or the Pacific, based on the great circle.

Dave Lange: We chose the trans-Atlantic routing because it is the shortest route based on our approved operations for the 777 aircraft.

_______________________

Annandale, Va.: What will the pandas eat on the plane? Will they be sedated so they can sleep most of the way? Thank you!

Dave Lange: The Panda will have an assortment of foods on the aircraft including bamboo and water. I have no information regarding sedation, that is a question for the Zoos.

Dave Lange: The Panda will have an assortment of foods on the aircraft including bamboo and water. I have no information regarding sedation, that is a question for the Zoos.

_______________________

Annapolis, Md.: Has FedEx participated in shipping pandas before?

Dave Lange: Yes, FedEx transported Tai Shan's parents to the US in 2000 and transported the 2 Giant Pandas from China to the Memphis Zoo in 2003.

_______________________

Brielle, N.J.: My heart is breaking over Tai Shan's departure but glad to know he is traveling in style. Will this panda plane be used again as part of your fleet, keeping its panda markings? And is this a direct nonstop flight for the pandas?

Dave Lange: Yes, the 777 aircraft is part of our normal fleet and will be put back into service after the FedEx Panda Express flight has operated. The markings will stay on the aircraft for a short period of time after the flight.

_______________________

Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: Hi Dave, thanks for taking questions. What is the cost of this trip and who is paying for Tai Shan's travel?

Dave Lange: We are not disclosing the dollar cost of the flight itself, but it's hard to put a price tag on helping to save an endangered species by returning the pandas to breeding habitats. We are donating our services and honored to be called upon to provide for their safe journey.

_______________________

Annandale, Va.: How many hours is the plane flight to China? How much room will they have to move around in the plane?

Dave Lange: The flight is expected to take approximately 14 1/2 hours from Washington to Chengdu. The Pandas will remain in their custom-made enclosures for the duration of the flight.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Will the flight be videotaped?

Dave Lange: No

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Will Tai Shan be given a tour of the cockpit during the flight? Where will you store the panda poop produced during the flight?

Dave Lange: The pandas will remain in their custom-made enclosures during the flight. The animal care experts will have everything they need to make the animals comfortable during the flight

_______________________

Fredericksburg, Va.: Is the "custom-made enclosure" that white crate I saw Tai Shan playing on at the zoo last week? What's it made of?

Dave Lange: No it's not... FedEx provided funds for two custom built transport containers for the pandas to travel in during the flight.

_______________________

Arlington, Va.: Does the panda loan agreement with China prohibit the U.S. from obtaining its own lease-free panda by cloning the panda's DNA?

Dave Lange: Definitely not my area of expertise! That's a question for the Zoos.

_______________________

Springfield, USA: Will the Tai Shan shipment receive a FedEx tracking number, and if so can it be tracked via the tracking website?

Dave Lange: Tai Shan and Mei Lan will be traveling on a International Air Waybill but not tracked in the traditional FedEx manner.

_______________________

Dave Lange: Thanks for chatting with me! Bye.

_______________________

Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


» This Story:Read +|Watch +|Talk +| Comments
© 2010 The Washington Post Company

Discussion Archive

Viewpoint is a paid discussion. The Washington Post editorial staff was not involved in the moderation.

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity