CHENGDU-Chinese researchers held a send-off ceremony for a pair of giant pandas who are to depart for Moscow on Monday for a 15-year collaborative research.

Ru Yi, the male panda born in 2016, and Ding Ding, the female panda born in 2017, are scheduled to board a flight at 1:45pm in Chengdu and arrive in Moscow at 10:00pm Beijing Time the same day, the panda research base in southwest China’s Sichuan Province said.

Li Shuming, deputy director of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, presided over the ceremony at the Bifengxia base of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP). Svetlana Akulova, head of the Moscow Zoo, also attended the ceremony. Staff at the center prepared buns, bamboo sprouts and baby formulas for the pandas in the journey. Caretaker Wang Pingfeng and veterinarian He Ming will travel with the pandas to Russia. “My job is to keep them calm in case of any stress symptoms. We will make sure they are accustomed to their new life in Moscow,” said Wang.

“Ru Yi is outgoing and vivacious, but Ding Ding is quiet. We have carried out quarantine and health checks for them. They are in good shape,” said He Ming. The pair of giant pandas will live in the Moscow Zoo for 15 years, according to the research project.

On February 28, the China Wildlife Conservation Association and the Moscow Zoo signed an agreement on the protection and research cooperation of giant pandas. The Moscow Zoo sent full-time keepers and veterinarians to China in advance to learn about the breeding and medical care of giant pandas.