The two new residents, Meng Meng and Jiao Qing, will fly into Berlin on a special Lufthansa cargo plane on June 24th, accompanied by two Chinese vets, Berlin zoo’s chief vet, and a tonne of bamboo.
The pandas will be served “bamboo snacks” and water, and their transport box kept dry and odourless with absorbent mats during the 12 hour and 20 minute-long flight.
Meng Meng means “dream” in Chinese while the zoo says Jiao Qing translates to “darling”, although the Chinese characters are a composite of “tender” and “festive”.
Ahead of their arrival, Berlin zoo, the bears’ new home, has built a 1,000 metre square (10,700 square feet) enclosure, which includes a wooded climbing area.
The zoo will also pay €920,000 a year for the 15-year contract to host the pair, with most of the funds going towards a breeding research programme in China and the protection of pandas in their natural habitat.
Chancellor Angela Merkel previously announced that Germany was in talks with Beijing to bring a pair of the rare bears to Berlin during a visit to China in 2015.
Famed for its “panda diplomacy”, China has sent its unofficial national mascot to only around a dozen countries, to signal their healthy ties with Beijing.
After a period of acclimatization in their new Berlin home, Meng Meng and Jiao Qing are expected to presented to the public.