Giant panda "Jiao Qing" waits for boarding a chartered flight at an airport in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, June 24, 2017, to leave for Berlin Zoo in Germany. "Meng Meng", a four-year-old female panda, and "Jiao Qing", a seven-year-old male, will settle in their new home in Berlin on a 15-year research mission. (Xinhua)
CHENGDU, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Giant pandas Meng Meng and Jiao Qing took a Lufthansa cargo flight from their home in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, for a 12-hour flight to Berlin on Saturday morning.
The plane took off at 9:35 a.m., taking the pandas and 1,000 kilograms of bamboo, apple and a large number of biscuits.
They were accompanied with two keepers from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and a senior vet from Berlin Zoo.
The keepers said that apples and Wotou, a Chinese steamed bread, are the pandas' favorite food, which can help them relieve their tension and irritability during the long journey.
Their plane will make a stop-over for refueling in Novosibirsk, Russia before arriving in Berlin Saturday afternoon local time.
Four-year-old female panda Meng Meng and seven-year-old male panda Jiao Qing were in good health before the flight. Meng Meng is not yet adult panda. She is expected to be mated with Jiao Qing, after she turns six years old.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Germany. The pandas were sent as envoys of China-Germany friendship. They will live in Berlin Zoo for the next 15 years.