Monday, 09. December 2013 - 04:12
27. 09. 12. - 16:30
Austrian zookeepers are preparing this panda cub for the long trip back to his Chinese homeland by rewarding him with carrots and sweet potatoes every time he gets into the travel cage that will be used to transport him.
Austria's Schönbrunn zoo has two giant pandas on loan from China and under the terms of the agreement for the loan of the pair any offspring need to be returned to China within two years of being born.
That means that for Fu Hu he will be loaded onto a plane and sent back to China some time between the sixth and seventh of November.
As well as the sweet treats some of the bamboo food that the tiny panda regularly eats is also being put in the packaging crate to get used to the box. At some stage it will then be closed and he will be lifted into the air to get used to the movement of the box.
Panda keeper Renata Haider said: "this strategy worked very well with his brother and we are hoping that it will work well with him as well. When Fu Long was shipped back to China it works really well – he was very relaxed over the whole journey and simply ate bamboo or slept."
Once back in China he will end up at the panda research Centre at Bifengxia where his brother is also located.
The pair have never met and will be kept in separate locations on the reserve according to Chinese officials.
The long journey will begin in the lorry to Amsterdam from where he will be flown to Chengdu, and then driven the last few kilometres to the panda station in China. He will be accompanied by his keeper as well as to other zoo officials. They will then remain for a couple of weeks to make sure he feels good in his new home before returning to Austria.
The zoo said that weighing almost 50 kg the young panda is now fit enough for the long journey back to the home he has never seen.
Zoo director Dagmar Schratter said: "At this stage the young pandas will leave their parents anyway when they are in the wild. We already noticing that his mother Yang Yang is starting to get a bit fed up with him."
He will be put into an enclosure with other pandas of a similar age and Chinese officials hope it will eventually have a family of his own.
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