How to Put a Panda in the Mail


Whether it’s delivering polar bears to zoos or prize horses to the World Equestrian Games, FedEx rules the animal-shipping kingdom. David Lange, director of charter operations, reveals how they do it.

Since 2000, FedEx has shipped 12 pandas to zoos. How much did it cost?
It varies. We sell the entire airplane. Whether you want to move one ton or 80 pounds, you buy the entire airplane. Shipping an animal is different from shipping a box. Trying to translate a cost per pound for an endangered species, it’s hard to make a comparison.

What kinds of supplies do the pandas need?
We usually carry a breeding pair, so two enclosures with bamboo, water, apples—a couple thousand pounds of supplies. When we’re carrying horses we bring water and hay. One time, we carried 10 or 15 tons of tack and hay and feed.

You ship hundreds of horses every year. What kind of plans have to be made before a flight?
When you’re moving 45 horses on a flight with 25 grooms, it takes special handling. There are the enclosures, the supplies, the food and water. Attendants and vets must be on the flight. Background checks and visas and passports. There are customs and immigration requirements for not only the grooms and vets, but also the animals.

The animals need passports?
Absolutely. When moving horses—some of these horses are worth millions of dollars— they go in and out without having to pay duties and taxes. There’s a lot of paperwork, blood testing, certification, and quarantine at the destination.

How do you keep them comfortable?
Temperature control. When you’re moving a lot of horses, that generates humidity. We often fly in the middle of the night, when it’s cooler. With an aquarium, you’ve got an animal in water, so we have to consider takeoff and landing profiles. We can’t take off too quickly.

Who cleans up after the animals?
Professional cleaners take care of that. You’d be surprised the rules different countries have. I’ve seen some amazing stuff. The amount of disinfectant ... we flew our horse charter into Shanghai last year. They sprayed down the entire airplane, the crew steps, everything. That’s part of the quarantine.

Are some animals too large?
Sometimes we can’t help the customer because the animal won’t fit. But when we’ve committed to carry, we’ll find the right-sized aircraft. If we were just moving a whale or two, an Airbus might suffice. Moving 50 or 60 horses with 20 grooms and attendants, we’ll need a bigger airplane.

Any escape stories?
No. I can safely say we’ve never had any escapees.

Martin Wittfooth
The Cat Art Show Is Coming Back to Los Angeles in June
Martin Wittfooth
Martin Wittfooth

After dazzling cat and art lovers alike in 2014 and again in 2016, the Cat Art Show is ready to land in Los Angeles for a third time. The June exhibition, dubbed Cat Art Show 3: The Sequel Returns Again, will feature feline-centric works from such artists as Mark Ryden, Ellen von Unwerth, and Marion Peck.

Like past shows, this one will explore cats through a variety of themes and media. “The enigmatic feline has been a source of artistic inspiration for thousands of years,” the show's creator and curator Susan Michals said in a press release. “One moment they can be a best friend, the next, an antagonist. They are the perfect subject matter, and works of art, all by themselves.”

While some artists have chosen straightforward interpretations of the starring subject, others are using cats as a springboard into topics like gender, politics, and social media. The sculpture, paintings, and photographs on display will be available to purchase, with prices ranging from $300 to $150,000.

Over 9000 visitors are expected to stop into the Think Tank Gallery in Los Angeles during the show's run from June 14 to June 24. Tickets to the show normally cost $5, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting a cat charity, and admission will be free for everyone on Wednesday, June 20. Check out a few of the works below.

Man in Garfield mask holding cat.
Tiffany Sage

Painting of kitten.
Brandi Milne

Art work of cat in tree.
Kathy Taselitz

Painting of white cat.
Rose Freymuth-Frazier

A cat with no eyes.
Rich Hardcastle

Painting of a cat on a stool.
Vanessa Stockard

Sculpture of pink cat.
Scott Hove

Painting of cat.
Yael Hoenig
Tony Karumba, AFP/Getty Images
How a Pregnant Rhino Named Victoria Could Save an Entire Subspecies
Sudan, the last male member of the northern white rhino subspecies, while being shipped to Kenya in 2009
Sudan, the last male member of the northern white rhino subspecies, while being shipped to Kenya in 2009
Tony Karumba, AFP/Getty Images

The last male northern white rhino died at a conservancy in Kenya earlier this year, prompting fears that the subspecies was finally done for after decades of heavy poaching. Scientists say there's still hope, though, and they're banking on a pregnant rhino named Victoria at the San Diego Zoo, according to the Associated Press.

Victoria is actually a southern white rhino, but the two subspecies are related. Only two northern white rhinos survive, but neither of the females in Kenya are able to reproduce. Victoria was successfully impregnated through artificial insemination, and if she successfully carries her calf to term in 16 to 18 months, scientists say she might be able to serve as a surrogate mother and propagate the northern white rhino species.

But how would that work if no male northern rhinos survive? As the AP explains, scientists are working to recreate northern white rhino embryos using genetic technology. The San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research has the frozen cell lines of 12 different northern white rhinos, which can be transformed into stem cells—and ultimately, sperm and eggs. The sperm of the last northern white male rhino, Sudan, was also saved before he died.

Scientists have been monitoring six female southern white rhinos at the San Diego Zoo to see if any emerge as likely candidates for surrogacy. However, it's not easy to artificially inseminate a rhino, and there have been few successful births in the past. There's still a fighting chance, though, and scientists ultimately hope they'll be able to build up a herd of five to 15 northern white rhinos over the next few decades.

[h/t Time Magazine]


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