Feng Yi and Fu Wa fly first class

CHENGDU: Giant pandas Feng Yi and Fu Wa will enjoy bamboos, bamboo shoots, apples, carrots and wo wo tou (a type of steamed dumpling) as their “in-flight meals” from China to Malaysia.

The pandas were placed into crates before a forklift loaded them into a truck to take them to the Chengdu airport from the Dujiangyan panda base.

Natural Resources and Environment Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Zoal Azhar Yusof said the pandas would be greeted by a water salute at the welcoming ceremony in Malaysia.

“It’s a symbolic gesture, like the merenjis (sprinkling of water) session at weddings,” he said.

The crates and the truck carrying the animals were adorned with panda cartoons and the words “Farewell Fu Wa and Feng Yi”.

The animals were accompanied by Zoo Negara director Dr Naim Ramli and veterinarian Li Caiwu and keeper Yang Haidi from the panda base during the flight, which is scheduled to arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 5.30am today.

Yang and Li, who took care of Feng Yi and Fu Wa when they were in the nursery in 2007 and during their quarantine since February this year, will stay in Kuala Lumpur with them until they get accustomed to their new home.

“The pandas are used to being transported by land since the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda has three bases,” Yang said.

“If they are strong, they will not experience air sickness.”

Li, meanwhile, said Feng Yi and Fu Wa, weighing 105kg and 120kg respectively, were given a clean bill of health when a health check was conducted on them a month ago.

A short send-off ceremony was held at the panda base, attended by Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr James Dawos Mamit and Chinese State Forestry Administration’s Wildlife Conservation and Nature Reserve Administration Bureau director-general Zhang Xiwu.

Related stories:

Feng Yi and Fu Wa fly first class

Panda enclosure ‘best in the world’

Pair get special MM2H certs

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