Qatar Airways Cargo returns rescued lions to their natural habitat for free
Qatar Airways (QA) Cargo recently transported seven rescued lions to their natural habitat free of charge under its ‘Rewild the Planet’ initiative.
Extending its support to the non-profit organization Warrior of Wildlife (WOW), QA Cargo flew three lions, one lioness and three cubs in a three-day trip from Kiev to Doha and Johannesburg.
On April 29, the Kouga and Swinburne nature reserves in South Africa welcomed the lions who were able to walk on grass for the first time in their lives.
The entire operation was carried out over a period of six months and involved twelve departments and more than 50 employees to ensure its success.
The initiative forms Chapter 2 of QA’s WeQare sustainability program.
Founder and director of WOW, Lionel De Lange said, “Repatriating wild animals is a major undertaking, especially over such a great distance. But we were able to count on the Qatar Airways Cargo teams who are 100 percent behind us and the work we do. They played a critical role. Without them, these seven lions would still be in captivity in atrocious conditions. So thank you on their behalf.”
The transportation of wild animals involves close cooperation with specific services within the airline as well as the NGO staff.
The NGO staff looks after the animals’ well-being during the entire journey.
Handlers from the Qatar Airways Cargo's Live Animals facility are present at every stage.
Authorization is given to the NGO staff to let them stay with the lions in designated holding areas to keep a constant connection with them.
Chief Officer Cargo, Qatar Airways Cargo, Guillaume Halleux commented, “I have great admiration and respect for Lionel and his staff, for all their efforts to ensure wild animals can return to nature.”
The lions had remained in captivity for years and will not be able to adapt to the wild.
In the next few months, they will learn to explore nature in a protected area.
Afterward, they will be moved to a much larger nature reserve where they will be taken care of for the rest of their lives.
“This is something for us all to be proud of. Whether it’s our staff who fully support our wish to give back to communities, or those who have contributed their expertise and enthusiasm, we are extremely proud to be able to do our bit towards a fairer future,” Halleux added.
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