Lufthansa Cargo and GRADLYN take utmost care of ‘special passengers’

Two Mesopotamian fallow deer – lovingly referred to as "Mesos" – were flown from the Opel Zoo in Kronberg, Germany, to their final destination Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. After the Mesopotamian fallow deer had been eradicated in the late 19th century in the area that is Israel today, GRADLYN - The Animal Travel Agency and Lufthansa Cargo transported two nine-month-old males from the Opel Zoo to Jerusalem for reproduction, whereas their offspring will be returned to the wild in the future to ensure the iconic species is safeguarded and preserved for future generations to see.

For the two Mesos, the preparations focused on the construction of the crates. The forwarding agent GRADLYN first checked the transport boxes based on the IATA regulations to make sure that the airline will accept the transport crates. In the Meso transport, the shipping Zoo manufactured the crates by themselves and they had sent “step-by-step-manufacturing” pictures for pre-approval.


“After the crates were approved, we arranged the booking for the animals and their attendant. Due to the reason that these Fallow deers (Mesos) are endangered we had to follow the special export customs procedure, as well as the documentation for the airline. The road transport in our vehicles also had to be monitored as these animals had to be transported within a special temperature range,” said Sandra Wedel of GRADLYN.

To meet the special needs of each species and shipment short transport times to and from the aircraft to the warehouse is of great importance. “The Frankfurt Animal Lounge as our main hub offers modern infrastructure. To make it as comfortable as possible for the animals they are shielded from sight and sound of each other. With climate-controlled chambers ensuring constant ambient temperatures and black light areas for examining ornamental fish, we guarantee the right solution for every animal requirement,” informed Marco Klapper, Lufthansa Cargo Product Manager Live/td.

Among all the stakeholders, the more challenging role is of the airline when it comes to transport of large animals.

After the initial preparations, there are various other complexities involved. The one that presents the major challenge to the forwarding agent is the rules and regulations. Each country, each animal and each airline has specific regulations which are all depending on each other.

“In all our ‘Exotic animal moves’ we have to make sure that all rules and regulations are fulfilled. That is the reason why an exact preparation is a simple requirement. Our part is to make sure that everything will be arranged for the journey of these precious creatures, said Wedel, GRADLYN.

“The larger the animals are, the more challenging it gets for us as an airline. The crates need to be built in such a way, that no liquids get out of these boxes. When we are talking about rhinos or elephants, you can imagine how big the challenges can get. For such heavy shipments, special loading positions in the aircraft are required to ensure a safe flight,” added Klapper.

Be it any shipment, perishable or live animal, the collaboration between all involved parties is of great importance.

“The main key is the joint approach of all involved players: shipper, forwarder, airline and consignee. Only if all parties are doing an excellent job, the transport of special cargo such as live animals, pharmaceuticals and perishables runs smoothly.”

“Concerning live transport we do our utmost to ensure that the animals arrive at their final destination safe and sound. We, as Lufthansa Cargo accept live animals only from specialised forwarders. And for the transport of zoo animals, classified as endangered species, both shipper and consignee have to be a member of certain zoo organizations which are trained in preparing these kind of animals for a longer trip,” concluded Klapper.