MASkargo took charge of panda cubs Yi Yi and Sheng Yi on their way to their new home in China onboard a freighter flight to Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport on August 29.
In fact, it is almost ten years since MASkargo, the air cargo arm of Malaysia Aviation Group, transported the cubs’ parents, Fu Wa and Feng Yi, in the opposite direction to Kuala Lumpur to mark the 40th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Yi Yi was due to return to her homeland in 2020 at the age of two, but the Covid pandemic intervened. While the world was under quarantine, her sister Sheng Yi, was born in May 2021.
The cubs, weighing 106 kg and 81 kg respectively, travelled on MASkargo’s A330-200F arriving at Chengdu Airport at 3:05 am local time for onward travel to their new home at the Chengdu Research Base.
The flight crew were joined by Dr Kavitha Jayaseelan and Ahmad Nizam Zainuddin of Zoo Negara Malaysia to ensure the well-being of the cubs. They were sent off by Abdul Wahid Abu Salim, deputy secretary general of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change Malaysia, together with zoo and national park representatives.
MASkargo chief executive, Mark Jason Thomas, said: “We are proud to be a part of such a significant event. It is an honour for MASkargo to be part of the journey in transporting the national treasures of the People’s Republic of China to their homeland.”
He added: “Staff at MASkargo’s Animal Hotel undergo regular training to keep themselves updated with the latest know-how on both safety and animal welfare. In the past, we have transported exotic animals such as sea lions, tiger sharks, baby giraffes and rhinoceros, to name a few.” MASkargo is also a member of the IATA Live Animal Board, he added.