When you already visited the Bioparc in Valencia, I am pretty sure that you will have asked yourself how these animals came into the zoo. Especially because the theme of the Parc is Africa you maybe had thoughts like “did they had catch them in the African wildlife?” and “did these animals like giraffes and lions come to Valencia by plane?”.
The answers to these questions seem to be difficult and so is the animals’ transport. There are many different ways of animal transportation, but in every case the planning starts already several months before, with a lot of paper work. Besides, the animals will get a health check-up, so no diseases will be carried into the destination country. A month before the transport, a responsible person from the destination zoo will visit the animal in their home place, to get an insight into the animals current living situation. The truth is that almost all animals are exchanges from other zoos or parks. Catching animals in the wild is nowadays difficult and almost impossible because of animal protection guidelines. Thus, giraffes for example will be born in a zoo and transferred to another zoo or park. This is due to the regulation of the European Union, which limits the number of inspection posts for animals to airports only. This means that the animal size is limited to the maximal size that can carried by plane.
As mentioned before, there are many ways of animal transportation. Starting from the decision regarding a transportation via air, sea or land, about the loading and offloading possibilities and ending with decisions concerning the best season for the transportation.
But no matter in which way the transfer will be performed, the whole time the animal’s health & stress level will be checked and can result in a cancellation of the undertaking.
Taking the example of an elephant transfer, the moving starts several weeks before, with a training for the elephant to go into the crate. On the transportation day, once the elephant is inside the crate, it is lifted a few inches off the ground and paused to see how the elephant reacts.
The crate is placed on the flatbed of a semitruck and cameras are placed in the crate behind the elephant to control its reactions. During the transfer, several stops are planned to constantly check the elephant’s health.
At the destination, a crane or a forklift is used to remove the crate from the truck.
Elephant transport in the past:
Elephant Transport nowadays:
The way animals will be transferred differs from one animal species to another.
So, for example, dolphins are transported like this: