First Dutch-born giant panda to depart for China on Wednesday
Giant panda cub Fan Xing from Ouwehands Dierenpark in Rhenen, located in the province of Utrecht, is set to depart for China on Wednesday. In China, she will be relocated to a sanctuary dedicated to conserving the species, the zoo reported on Monday.
Fan Xing was born on May 1, 2020, making her the first giant panda cub born in the Netherlands. She is now three years old. From the onset, it was understood that the panda would remain in the Netherlands for only a limited period. According to an agreement between China and the Netherlands, giant pandas born abroad must return to their country of origin, China, before their fourth birthday.
The panda will be sent to the China Wildlife Conservation Association to participate in a program dedicated to the conservation of the giant panda species.
Fan Xing's departure has been planned for more than a year. “It always does something to me when an animal moves. It is as if a piece of myself disappears. Moreover, this is of course a very special animal. We have been through so much with her,” said zoology manager José Kok to AD.
“Fan Xing's departure is quite emotional for all of us. She is the first young panda born in the Netherlands. When you consider how much effort, patience and time it took to achieve this, you understand how special this moment is,” said zoo director Robin de Lange.
Extensive preparations for her move have been in the works for some time. "There was, of course a lot of paperwork involved," Kok noted. Fan Xing even underwent "crate training" as part of these preparations. "She's been trained to enter the crate, and we hope she'll do so without any problems one Wednesday," he added.
This Wednesday, a crane will lift the crate containing Fan Xing onto a truck, which will then transport her to the airport. She will be accompanied by a Chinese veterinarian and a caregiver from Ouwehands.
“I am confident that everything will go well,” Kok said.