Conservation mission transports rare sea eagle across continents

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In March, a significant event in the realm of wildlife conservation unfolded as a male sea eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) embarked on a journey from Zoologicka Zahrada a Botanicky Park Ostrava, Czechia, to Fota Wildlife Park, Cork, Ireland. 

Managed by the Pets-on-Board service offered by Dublin-based EFL International Distribution, this intercontinental relocation marked a pivotal moment in the collaborative efforts between two zoological institutions, highlighting the importance of preserving endangered species for future generations.

Facilitated by KLM, the sea eagle’s voyage commenced from Prague Airport, transiting through Amsterdam, before reaching its final destination at Dublin Airport. The meticulous planning by the Pets-on-Board team ensured that every aspect of the journey was tailored to prioritise the bird’s well-being, from the choice of airline to the specially adapted hard plastic crate used for transportation.

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The crate, designed with the bird’s comfort and safety in mind, featured a hessian material draped over the windows and doors. This not only served to keep the environment inside calm and dark but also provided adequate ventilation, crucial for the bird’s health during transit. Such attention to detail underscores the dedication of the professionals within the Pets-on-Board team to mitigate stress factors that could impact the animal’s welfare.

The decision to relocate the sea eagle was rooted in a shared commitment to conservation and breeding programmes between the two zoos. With populations of sea eagles dwindling in the wild due to various threats, including habitat loss and human encroachment, captive breeding initiatives play a vital role in bolstering their numbers and genetic diversity.

Transporting large birds like sea eagles, or any animal, requires specialised handling by trained personnel equipped with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). In the case of the sea eagle, the strength of its beak and talons necessitates utmost caution to prevent any potential injuries during the transfer process.

Furthermore, the time sensitivity involved in transporting endangered species cannot be overstated. Minimising human contact and exposure to unfamiliar stimuli, such as loud noises and crowds, is paramount to reducing stress levels for the animals. Hence, expedited check-in procedures and streamlined transit arrangements are imperative to ensure a smooth and efficient journey.

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The successful transportation of the sea eagle exemplifies EFL International Distribution’s ability to manage the collaborative efforts of multiple organisations dedicated to the conservation of endangered species. From wildlife experts and airlines to zoo staff and regulatory bodies, each entity played a crucial role in orchestrating a seamless relocation process.

EFL International Distribution’s specialised Pets-On-Board Service ensured that the sea eagle received the highest level of care and attention throughout its journey, reaffirming its commitment to animal welfare and conservation efforts.

Pets-On-Board operates globally and specialises in routes to countries with stringent regulations, such as Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and UAE. These destinations demand meticulous paperwork and adherence to specific protocols, which can take several months to complete. The importance of thorough preparation cannot be overstated, ensuring animals meet the strict requirements of these countries.