Moving day at the zoo: How do parks transfer their animals?

Planning for new arrivals starts months before their arrival.  

There is a lot of paperwork these days and tests to make sure the animals are fit and aren’t going to carry any diseases into the country. Then, about a month before animals arrive, zoo park workers go and visit them at the zoo to understand about how they are kept and managed for easier transfer to new surroundings.

Preparing the animal for the journey: Crate Training

Crate training is the corner stone of zoo animal transport. It may require a lot of work or very little, depending on the species. The aim is to:

▪ make the transport crate a safe familiar place that the animal enters voluntarily

▪ habituate the animal to spend time locked in the crate, ideally a length of time closes to traveling time plus extra time for unexpected delays

Preparing the animal for the journey: Health checks and ‘fitness to travel’

▪ Animals selected for transport are typically in fine health and if gravid, early term only.

▪ Many satisfactory examinations and tests precede transport day and are typically resolved early

▪ The concept of fitness to travel is applied until the moment of loading and can lead to cancelling shipments. This can be the result of sudden illness or injury, excessive anxiety, hyperthermia, any form of distress where there is a lack of confidence that this will resolve if transport continues.

Preparing the animal for the journey:feeding and watering

Decisions must be made regarding Feeding and watering prior to traveling to ensure best possible nutritional status by transport day and then lowest possible waste production during transport.

Decisions must also be made regarding feeding and watering in transport. Sometimes regulations oblige to provide water. Every stop over is an opportunity to water and feed.

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Logistics of trip: Logistic specialist should concider such issues as:

▪shortest route vs cheaper route vs more comfortable route (eg support or holding facilities en route);

▪Carriers: passenger vs cargo vs charters;

▪Loading and offloading: cranes, forklifts, last-in-first-out;

▪Season/temperature, road transport sections;

▪Accompanying personnel;

· Crate design: IATA, experience, aircraft dimensions, pallets and change of pallets at stopover, door sizes, bridge height along the way, crane and forklift provisions

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