IAG Cargo is welcoming six white rhinos on British Airways’ first Airbus A380 flight to Miami (US) on 25 October.
The rhinos are embarking on the journey from Johannesburg (South Africa) to Miami to ensure the continued genetic diversity for breeding programmes which are part of a global conservation effort.
IAG Cargo product manager for live animals, Gabriella Tamasi, explains with the rhinos weighing one metric tonne each, they take up a lot of space, so the carrier needs an aircraft that can handle them.
“Importantly, the A380 allows us to control the hold temperature to within one degree of accuracy – which is really important as rhinos give off a lot of body heat and we need to keep the temperature as comfortable as possible for these magnificent creatures,” Tamasi adds.
On the aircraft, specialists from IAG Cargo as well as veterinary teams will be available every step of the way to ensure a comfortable and relaxed flight.
The creatures will be transported via IAG Cargo’s Live Animals product, which specialises in the movement of animals of all types: from dogs and cats to lions and rhinos.
Rhinos in Africa face a range of external threats including poaching and an encroachment on their space by humans.
White rhinos have become a conservation success story. Numbers in the wild dropped to as low as 50 in the early 1900s, but this subspecies of rhino has now increased in number to more than 20,000, becoming the most populous of all the rhino species.