Qatar Airways Cargo, in collaboration with animal transport specialist Intradco Global, has safely flown Eric, a 1,157 kilograms black rhino from San Diego Zoo in California to his new home in Tanzania, for the Singita Grumeti Fund, a non-profit organisation carrying out wildlife conservation and community development work in the western corridor of the Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania. Tanzania’s newest resident, bred in the US was gifted to the United Republic of Tanzania by San Diego Zoo to bolster an important satellite population of critically endangered eastern black rhinos within the greater Serengeti ecosystem.
Eric’s journey from Los Angeles on board a Boeing 777 freighter involved stops at Liege and at the cargo carrier’s hub in Doha where he was well looked after at its state-of-the-art live animal centre before continuing onward to Entebbe in an Airbus A330 freighter. Upon touching down in Entebbe, Eric was carefully moved to a chartered Antonov-74 aircraft for the final flight leg to the Serengeti National Park arranged by Intradco. The temperature on board the freighters was adjusted according to the requirements to ensure the rhino was comfortable and does not become stressed. Eric’s special compartment contained his feed and water for the entire journey and he was accompanied by a specialist team of four attendants on the journey, including a wildlife veterinarian and a veterinary technician and rhino habituation expert. Eric is now safe and well in the rhino intensive protection zone of the Singita Grumeti Reserve, a 350,000 acre area in the western Serengeti.
Qatar Airways Chief Officer Cargo, Mr. Guillaume Halleux, said: “We are proud to support this important conservation project and play a part in the translocation of Eric to his new home. As one of the world’s leading cargo carriers, we support the conservation and protection of endangered animals. Our live animal handling procedures are in compliance with IATA’s Live Animals Regulations (LAR) and Qatar Airways Transportation of Wildlife and Animal Welfare (TWAW) Group Policy. Qatar Airways Cargo staff are thoroughly trained in the loading, storage and unloading, temperature and humidity control that is required to safelyhandle all live animals and ensure their wellbeing and a stress-free journey, on the ground and in the air.”
Singita Grumeti Fund Executive Director, Mr. Stephen Cunliffe, said: “When transporting a cargo that’s worth its weight in gold, you want to know that you’re working with the very best professionals. Qatar Airways Cargo and the logistics company Intradco went to great lengths to ensure that our precious rhino and his handlers were well looked after, demonstrating professionalism and exceptional care in every aspect of the complex translocation operation.”
Today, fewer than 750 eastern black rhinos remain across the whole of East Africa, making this translocation extremely important for the conservation and protection of the species. The logistics and operations behind this important conservation project was even more crucial and all the teams involved from Qatar Airways Cargo and Intradco went to great lengths to ensure Eric had a comfortable journey from origin to the final destination.
Qatar Airways is an inaugural signatory to the United for Wildlife Transport Industry Declaration and a partner in the USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership. Through its specialist QR Live solution, the cargo carrier offers exceptional care and ensures the well-being of live animals is upheld during all stages of transportation. Over the past years, Qatar Airways Cargo has transported a wide variety of animals across the world that include horses, pets, birds, cattle, fish and exotic animals for zoos and approved establishments.