A pair of pampered giant pandas, two of the few remaining specimens of an endangered species, was welcomed to their new homes in Scotland Sunday, Reuters reported.
The plane - Panda Express - carrying the two animals, for whom the Edinburgh Zoo is paying $10 million to Chinese authorities, landed at 9 p.m. Beijing time at Edinburgh Airport, after taking off from the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu.
Officials transported the pandas in custom-built containers. The pandas will become Britain's first pair of breeding pandas in 17 years. The animals are expected to eat up to $100,000 worth of bamboo shoots a year; the zoo will grow 15 percent of the required shoots and the rest will be imported from the Netherlands, the Sunday Morning Herald reported.
The pandas are all set to begin what is expected to be a 10-year loan to the city's zoo. The 8-year-old breeding pair, raised at the China Conversation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, named Tian Tian and Yang Guang (Sweetie and Sunshine in English), was surrounded by the cabin crew all the way to Scotland and their every need was catered to, a Reuters report stated.
There are four crew members, two attendants, one veterinarian and one cargo handler, and they'll be taking very close care (of them) just like first class passengers on any airline, Paul Cassel of FedEx told Reuters, before the flight took off from China.
According to reports, there are an estimated 1,600 pandas living wild in China, almost all in Sichuan. There are approximately 300 pandas in captivity around the world, with a majority of them in China.