Austria-born panda Fu Hu heads to China
Equipped with a generous supply of bamboo for the long trip, Austrian-born panda Fu Hu was on his way to China on Wednesday, as stipulated under Vienna zoo's contract with Beijing, the zoo said.
"Fu Hu got into his transport crate without hesitation and sat down, completely relaxed," said Dagmar Schratter, director of Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo where the bear was born in 2010.
Leaving Vienna late on Tuesday, Fu Hu—"lucky tiger" in Mandarin—slept for most of the road journey to Amsterdam, where he was due to be put on a plane to China later on Wednesday.
In China, Fu Hu will join his elder brother Fu Long, whose birth in Vienna in 2007 was a minor sensation because it was the first time a European zoo had seen a panda born from natural conception.
Given the bears' endangered status and short mating time, zoos usually resort to artificial insemination.
Fu Long, an immediate crowd-pleaser, also had to leave the baroque surroundings of Vienna zoo at the age of two under the same contractual obligation. In the wild, this is also the age that a cub leaves its parents.
The 10-year loan of the proud parents Yang Yang and Long Hui, meanwhile, expires in March but the zoo is in talks to extend the contract for another decade.
(c) 2012 AFP