Zoos send each other real-live pandas the same way anyone would send a stuffed one to their favorite niece or nephew — by FedEx. Two pandas, Er Shun and Da Mao, are on a plane today from China to Canada, where they’re supposed to live (and mate) at the Toronto Zoo. Fast Company reports:
Shipping giant pandas is actually old hat for [FedEx managing director David] Lange by now. FedEx has already engaged in six such shipments over the years; Lange himself has coordinated four of them. “I guess the first one or two, you get to really marvel at it. After a while, you get used to it,” he says. “It’s never dull, that’s for sure.”
When asked to recall some of the species he’s helped ship, he’s harder pressed to come up with species he hasn’t. Tigers, gorillas, eagles, penguins, lions, rhinos, even beluga whales have all found their way through the gaping maw of a FedEx plane’s cargo hold.
FedEx doesn’t just throw endangered species into the cargo hold and let them slide around with all the other packages. The pandas are put in secure containers that are locked down in the hold. We’re going to imagine these secure containers are just giant FedEx boxes and someone has to pull a gigantic tab in order to open them and let the pandas out.