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Turkish Cargo Transports Exotic Animals to Destinations around the Globe

Visiting a zoo and getting the chance to get an up-close glimpse of animals from around the globe is often a cherished memory for a child and their family. These are the types of opportunities that don’t come around often, and to deliver this experience takes a host of professionals working behind the scenes.

For all the exotic animals that are at the zoo a question that is often not asked is, how did they get there? Also, beyond just zoos, animals are being transported around the world for other purposes, such as mating for endangered animals. How do all these animals reach these destinations?

Handling and transporting these animals take a team of experts, so to get a deeper insight we spoke with representatives from Turkish Cargo, one of the premier air cargo carriers in the world. Their experience in live animal projects makes them uniquely qualified to handle a range of exotic animals.

Dedicated to Animal Well-Being

As one of the world’s fastest-growing air cargo carriers, Turkish Cargo has been making strides in developing a range of strong verticals. One of their specialized and distinct offerings is that of animal transportation. Within that vertical, the transportation of exotic animals from origin to destination by air is an exclusive and professional service that requires high levels of care and attention.

Turkish Cargo said, “Airlines can transport many kinds of exotic animals, such as reptiles, turtles, monkeys, parrots, camels, lions, tigers, gazelle, cheetahs, zebras, antelopes, rhinoceroses, and giraffes. However, wild and endangered species are the most challenging to transport. The reason is that wild and endangered species can only be accepted for carriage in the case that the animals in question were born and bred in captivity and if that they are transported between qualified zoological gardens or organizations, recognized wildlife protection centers or rehabilitation centers for conservation and breeding purposes.”

Exotic animals can be accepted as cargo only with special approval and they require special procedures. Having no harm happen to the animals themselves and to the handling personnel is key. To do this, adherence to IATA Live Animal Regulations contributes to a constant maintenance of exotic animal health and welfare during all phases of transportation.

Turkish Cargo continued, “Unlike general air cargo, when exotic live animals are transported by air, there are a number of conditions that must be considered. This includes thing like ensuring the amount of required space in the cargo compartment is available and that environmental conditions like ventilation, airflow, heating, and cooling provisions are acceptable in those compartments. We need to always make sure there are in-flight qualified attendants as well for the well-being of the animal. On the ground, we need to always ensure the availability of ground storage facilities and make sure the loading of the animal on and off of the aircraft is done within the shortest time possible. This is all done to lessen the stress on the animals being transported.”

One of the carriers most recent exotic animal transportations included three giraffes that were flown from Johannesburg to Tehran by means of a connecting flight via Istanbul. During the flight, the giraffes were accompanied by their keepers, veterinarians and IATA LAR certificated personnel from Turkish Cargo. Turkish Cargo says they were chosen for this shipment for their ability to recreate the animal’s natural habitat aboard the aircraft. The airline is meticulous in their preparation and undertakes all acceptance, storage and shipment processes, along with all the necessary documentation that is required for a special project like this, and strictly adheres to the rules and guidelines set out by the IATA Live Animals Regulations.

Processes Involved

For a more thorough explanation of the processes that go into transporting exotic animals, we asked Turkish Cargo to explain further from the beginning how they handle these moves, especially for endangered exotic animals. “When first preparing a live animal consignment, we obtain the full information in advance in accordance to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). Also, before exotic animals are accepted for transportation a visual inspection should be performed to ensure that the containers are in good conditions, properly labelled and the documents are correctly prepared. Exotic animals should be provided with adequate ventilation and sheltered from inclement weather conditions. All packages containing live exotic animals must be stowed in an upright position and they must not be loaded directly onto the floor of the compartment. They should be loaded as close as possible to departure time and unloaded as quickly as possible after arrival.”

“When live exotic animals are brought to the cargo acceptance department, they are examined by the dedicated and certified IATA LAR (Live Animal Regulation) staff with the respective document and kennel/crate instructions and evaluated by their acceptance specifications in accordance with LAR regulation. Live exotic animal shipments are stored in appropriate storage areas determined according to content of the cargo in a safe and secure way. Shift supervisors ensures compliance of the procedure with the rules and provides its follow-up.”

For specific aquatic animals, Turkish Cargo said that the cages must have sufficient capacity to carry the live exotic animal and also other tamer animals, be made of waterproof material, and the base of the cage must prevent flows and leakages. Each container must be suitable for the species being transported. The appropriate container/cage requirements such as construction, ventilation, safety, animal welfare and health, food and water for individual species are provided in accordance with IATA LAR Container Requirements.

Investing for the Future

Turkish Cargo has made several investments to improve their live animals services and says they plan to build a larger dedicated live animal facility via the İstanbul New Airport project. This includes the highest service levels and standards in certified dedicated facilities for live animals at İstanbul New Airport. They are looking to include facilities that provide suitable temperatures, proper ventilation so that the air circulation provides fresh air intake by venting the dirty air inside, areas isolated from each other for separation zones for the different types of animals, soft material-based walkways, and sanitary installations that look to possibly help remove animal odors.

As such, the carrier is still busy providing the very best services to over 122 countries and looks to continue as one of the fastest-growing air cargo brands around the world. However, due to the specialized cargo transportation services Turkish Cargo provides, animals will receive the utmost care as the carrier is committed to providing safe and comfortable transportation for all animals.

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