Intradco Global took Eric the black rhino on a 10,000 mile journey to Tanzania so he can play a starring role saving the species from extinction.
Eric, who has spent his life at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, is now settling into his new home in the Serengeti where he will be paired with a female called Laikipia who was transferred to the Serengeti from an animal park in the UK.
Her male companion was killed in a fight with a bull elephant in 2009 before she could produce a calf, so the search for a new partner began.
The logistics project to move Eric was coordinated by Chapman Freeborn’s animal transport specialist Intradco Global on behalf of the Singita Grumeti Fund – a non-profit organisation carrying out wildlife conservation and community development work in Tanzania.
The majority of Eric’s journey was completed using Qatar Airways Boeing 777 Freighter and Airbus A330 Freighter, with Eric travelling in a special pallet containing food and water, accompanied by a specialist team of four attendants including a vet, a vet technician and rhino habituation expert.
The route took Eric from Los Angeles to Liege to Doha, where he was transferred onto the second aircraft bound for Entebbe.
Touching down in Uganda, Eric was moved to a chartered AN-74 for the final leg to the Serengeti National Park, which was sourced after the Hercules contracted for the flight broke its windscreen.
Intradco project manager, Tom Lamb accompanied Eric on his journey and travelled with the Singita Grumeti team to the 350,000 acre area conservation area in the Serengeti wilderness.
Lamb comments: “To ensure his safety and minimise stress, Eric was given extensive training to familiarise him with the crate ahead of the flight. We also made sure his catering was top notch, with an array of treats including rhino biscuits, apples and watermelons to keep him fed, hydrated and happy throughout.
“He arrived looking fresh and ready for action and we wish him all the best in his new home. His new girlfriend is nine years his senior so he’s definitely going to have his work cut out – but he walked away with a confident swagger and we’re backing him to deliver.”
Commenting on the broken windscreen, Lamb says: “it wouldn’t be cargo aviation without a last minute drama”, adding the AN-74 was the “perfect replacement”.