AFKLM Martinair Cargo transports koalas to the Netherlands

Air France KLM Martinair Cargo employs specialised staff to accompany animals on their journey

AFKLM Martinair Cargo transports koalas to the Netherlands

Photos Credit: AFKLM Martinair Cargo

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Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen, in association with Air France KLM Martinair Cargo, welcomed three koalas to their custom-built, dedicated habitat called Koalia.

Apart from being the only koalas in the Netherlands, they are the first to set foot on Dutch soil, says a release from Air France KLM Martinair Cargo.

"Koalas are housed in zoos around the world within the scope of management programmes contributing to the genetic wellbeing of the population and protecting the species. The koala is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, and Australia has classified the species as endangered following a rapid decline in their numbers in recent years."

An animal caretaker from Ouwehands Zoo departed for the Californian San Diego Zoo to pick up the koalas on April 4, the release added. "KLM Cargo previously transported giant pandas from China to the Netherlands destined for Ouwehands Zoo in 2017."

Air France KLM Martinair Cargo specialises in animal-friendly, responsible transportation of various species and employs specialised staff with the necessary knowledge and skills to accompany the animals on their journey, the release added. "KLM is one of very few airlines with its own animal hotel at Schiphol. It is fully equipped to care for animals before, during and after the journey. In a secluded environment, specially trained animal stewards ensure that the animals travel as comfortably and safely as possible."

Upon arrival, the animals are unloaded from the aircraft’s cargo hold and transported to the KLM Animal Hotel, where they are cleared through customs and undergo a health check. The final leg of the journey saw them travelling from Amsterdam to Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen. Koalia will open on April 25, after which visitors to Ouwehands Zoo will be able to observe the koalas, the release added.

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