VIENNA – Twin baby pandas born two years ago in the Austrian capital’s zoo were flown out to China on Monday, where from now on they will live in the Gengda panda sanctuary in Central China, according to a zoo spokesperson.
The female cub is called “Fu Feng,” which stands for “Happy Phoenix,” a reference to a legendary bird that is reborn from flames, which along with dragons forms part of mythology.
The male is “Fu Ban,” meaning “Happy Companion,” a name that relates to the fact they are twins.
Both little pandas began their long march on Sunday from Vienna to Frankfurt airport (Germany).
They flew out to China on Monday, the Zoo announced.
“Their entry into the transport container went very well thanks to prior training. The twins entered, one behind the other, and once inside, were treated to a carrot,” Eveline Dungl, a Tiergarten Schönbrunn (Vienna Zoo) specialist accompanying the pandas to China said.
To help the pandas adapt to their new home, another specialist, Renate Haider, will remain two weeks in China with the twins.
“If there is somebody they recognize from their previous home, it makes them feel better. I will gradually pass them over to their new carers,” Heider explained.
The twin pandas are the offspring of Yang Yang and Long Hui, the only cubs to have been conceived in a biologically natural way in a European zoo, the Austrian institution said.
Long Hui, the father, died in December 2016.
The female bear, Yang Yang, arrived in 2013 to Vienna Zoo, on loan from China, has given birth to five panda cubs and now lives alone in her enclosure.
Tiergarten Schönbrunn is the world’s oldest zoo with 266 years of existence and is already talking with Chinese authorities to secure another male panda, on loan, to continue their panda captivity breeding program.