The pandas’ journey started at the Dujiangyan Panda Centre on Wednesday, 17 January. They first went to Chengdu Airport, from where they travelled to Helsinki. The pandas were transported to Finland by DHL, which has participated in several panda transport operations.
The pandas did not have to make the long trip to Finland alone. With them were Ähtäri Zoo’s panda keeper Anna Palmroth and veterinarian Heini Niinimäki. A Chinese veterinarian and a panda keeper were also on board.
“The flight was peaceful, as the presence of familiar people keeps pandas calm. During the trip, the pandas also got food and drink, naturally. Their packed lunch included their favourite foods: bamboo, carrot, apple and panda cakes,” Anna Palmroth says.
In Finland, the pandas were greeted with a welcoming event, attended by invited guests from China and Finland. From Helsinki Airport the pandas continued towards Ähtäri Zoo.
“When the pandas arrive at Ähtäri, they get to go to their own indoor enclosures where they have fresh bamboo to make their adaptation easier. During the first few days, we will monitor the pandas’ behaviour and appetite intensively,” Palmroth says.
The Chinese veterinarian and panda keeper will stay in Ähtäri for a month.
“They will guide us Finns in all panda-related things and make sure that we have enough expertise in caring for the pandas.”
The public can admire the Snowpandas Pyry and Lumi for the first time on Saturday, 17 February.
Source: Ähtäri Zoo Press release January 18, 2018