One of China’s pandas eats bamboo in its new home in Germany. (AP)

One of China’s pandas eats bamboo in its new home in Germany. (AP)

Containers carrying Meng Meng and Jiao Qing are loaded onto a plane in China. (AP)

Containers carrying Meng Meng and Jiao Qing are loaded onto a plane in China. (AP)

At the Berlin Zoo in Germany, the “Panda Garden” is nearly ready for the bears' arrival. (AP)

At the Berlin Zoo in Germany, the “Panda Garden” is nearly ready for the bears' arrival. (AP)

People take pictures as the bears are unloaded at the airport in Berlin. (AP)

People take pictures as the bears are unloaded at the airport in Berlin. (AP)

Stores in Berlin, Germany, are stocked up on panda merchandise. (AP)

Stores in Berlin, Germany, are stocked up on panda merchandise. (AP)

Panda Landing

Posted: September 1, 2017

Two giant pandas, Meng Meng and Jiao Qing, chomp on bamboo and cookies . . . in an airplane. They are flying first class from China to Germany—and really getting the royal treatment!

Meanwhile, it’s panda-monium in Berlin, Germany. People are going nuts preparing for the impossibly cute bears. They built the bears a brand new home in the Berlin Zoo. The ritzy new habitat cost $10 million. It has Chinese-style pavilions, red lanterns, a climbing area, and a mountain landscape.

Once they land, the pandas are taken from the airport to the zoo with police protection. Their driver doesn’t even have to stop for red lights! Soon after they arrive, German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a ceremony welcoming them to their new country.

Did you know that China owns all the giant pandas in the world? When China sends a panda to another country, it’s a way of saying, “Our countries are friends.” China has given three pandas to Germany in the past. The last one was named Bao Bao. He died in 2012.

But don’t be fooled—Germany doesn’t get to keep Meng Meng and Jiao Qing. The bears are just a loan. And Germany will pay through the nose! It costs $15 million to keep the bears for 15 years.

For now, the bears are busy roaming around their “living room.” That indoor part of their zoo habitat has wooden obstacles to climb, a wooden chair fit for bears, and bamboo for munching. Jiao Qing, whose name means “darling,” is a seven-year-old male. He weighs 238 pounds. Meng Meng’s name translates as “sweet dream.” She is three years old and weighs 169 pounds. Meng Meng isn’t old enough to have cubs yet. But zoo-goers can hardly wait till she is!