Intradco Global and Turkish Cargo have helped to transport four lions from Ukraine to a game reserve in South Africa on behalf of a non-profit environmental organisation.
Born into captivity in a travelling circus and kept in cramped conditions in a small enclosure, twin sisters Charlie and Kai, four, and their younger sister Luca, three, were facing a bleak future until the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization intervened with the aim of finding them a new home.
A male lion named Nathan was also saved as part of the same operation. The one-year-old cub was kept caged in unsanitary conditions by a trainer who planned to sell him as a performing animal.
Once rescued by the Lawrence Anthony team, the lions were put in a temporary enclosure until a transport solution could be found to move them to the Kragga Kamma Game Park in South Africa – a coastal forest and grassland expanse where the animals would be able to roam freely.
Animal transport specialist Intradco Global coordinated the project to move the four lions with the help of Turkish Cargo. Travelling in the lower deck hold of a Turkish Airlines Airbus A330 passenger aircraft, the animals flew from Kiev to Istanbul, where they were transferred to a second aircraft for their onward journey to Johannesburg.
The lions were transported in custom designed pallets containing food and water, and accompanied on the flight by a vet, a specialist handler and a representative from Lawrence Anthony to ensure their wellbeing throughout the journey to South Africa.
Intradco worked closely with the Lawrence Anthony team to ensure all permits and certifications were in place for the shipment – including valid CITES documentation (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).
Intradco project manager, Dane Riecker said: “We’re delighted to have been of assistance to Charlie, Kai, Luca, and Nathan, and we hope they enjoy their new home. Logistics projects of this kind always require careful planning, and we would like to thank Turkish Cargo and the other parties involved for working around the needs of these VIP passengers.
“We were able to fit them into a lower deck position which allowed us to use a passenger flight with Turkish Airlines, who had the shortest possible connection from Kiev to Johannesburg. Istanbul has an animal station that allowed the lions to be fed and watered during the transit period, which really made this route viable.”
Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation Ukraine chief executive officer, Lionel de Lange said: “Intradco Global and Turkish Cargo’s efforts made it possible to get these lions home, otherwise we would still be sitting in Ukraine waiting to take them to South Africa. It’s been great to work with them.
“Their team looked at the various options and found the best route with the shortest travel from Ukraine, from Kiev to Johannesburg. As and when we do this again, Intradco will be the first people I call.”