Assisted by wildlife transportation specialists from KLM Air Cargo, Ouwehands Zoo in the Netherlands has welcomed three koalas to a new custom-built, dedicated habitat called “Koalia”. Thanks to the effort of employees at the airline, the recent arrival of the koalas marked not only the first time that the species has been in the country but the first time that koalas have ever set foot on Dutch soil.

On April 4, 2024, an animal caretaker from Ouwehands Zoo traveled to the world-renowned San Diego Zoo in California to pick up the trio of koalas. After several days of training with caregivers, the caretaker returned with the three koalas that will inhabit a brand-new residence at the Zoo.

The KLM Boeing 787 aircraft, flying from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on one of KLM’s scheduled twice-daily flights, arrived at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) on the morning of April 19, 2024, with the three koalas safely onboard.

klm air cargo transports three koalas and two lions in the same week 0 5Tj4ufcb

Upon their arrival, the animals were unloaded from the aircraft´s cargo hold and transported to the KLM Animal Hotel, where they were cleared through customs and underwent a health check. The final leg of the journey saw them traveling from Amsterdam to Ouwehands Zoo by road. Having got over their jetlag, the koalas are reportedly already on display in their new enclosure at the Zoo.

klm air cargo transports three koalas and two lions in the same week 1 PhhMnWJu
KLM (Note: Koalas depicted in the photo are not the actual koalas involved)

Yet it is not just marsupials that the airline has been transporting in April 2024. The air cargo company has also been engaged in transporting some rather less cuddly animals in recent days.

On April 25, 2024, on behalf of animal charity ‘Four Paws’ based in the Netherlands and South Africa, KLM Air Cargo carried a cargo of two lions, known to their keepers as ‘Vasylyna’ and ‘Nikola’. Both large cats had previously been illegally held as pets in their home countries.

The lioness Vasylyna had originally broken free of her house in Ukraine, roaming the streets of a village near Kharkiv as war carried on around her until she was caught. She was kept in a Ukrainian temporary wildlife shelter before being taken to the FELIDA big cat sanctuary in the Netherlands in June 2023.

Nikola was roaming wild in Budva on the Adriatic coast before he was also caught and taken to FELIDA. The ultimate destination for the two cats was to be Lionsrock Park, a 1,250-hectare wildlife sanctuary in South Africa

Vasylyna and Nikola’s journey to South Africa began on April 25, 2024, when they were loaded onto a Martinair Cargo 747 freighter aircraft in Amsterdam. Martinair is the cargo-only subsidiary of the Air France-KLM Group. The animals arrived safe and well at their new home at Lionsrock after a safe flight from Europe to begin their new lives.

klm air cargo transports three koalas and two lions in the same week 2 Y4tgOfkG
Peter Bakema / Wikimedia Commons

“Our team of seasoned professionals is ready to deliver the best service and care, including special diets, administering medication, and, of course, plenty of love and attention. We strive to ensure that every animal with us is happy, healthy, and well-cared for,” said Petra Sleven, Director of Four Paws.

“The relocation of Vasylyna and Nikola to Lionsrock means they finally have the opportunity to live in a large sanctuary, surrounded by other lions. While it’s saddening that they never had the chance to be released into the wild due to illegal trade, we are glad to offer them a more natural life here,” she added.

klm air cargo transports three koalas and two lions in the same week 3 HpFgzLXr
Rock-It Cargo

“At our animal hotel at Schiphol, we prioritize dedication to providing the best care for our animal passengers, said Mirjam Scherer, Global Head of Specials Logistics at Air France KLM Martinair Cargo. “We ensure the highest level of attention and care for every animal under our care, from the moment of arrival to departure.”

KLM Air Cargo specializes in the animal-friendly, responsible transportation of various species and employs specialized staff with the necessary knowledge and skills to accompany the animals on their journey. Additionally, KLM is the only airline with its own animal hotel located on-site at Amsterdam-Schiphol.

klm air cargo transports three koalas and two lions in the same week 4

Airbus A350F launch customer CMA CGM Air Cargo orders another four aircraft

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *