DURBAN - Six wild cats, five lions and one tiger from Ukraine were transported safely to South Africa.
DHL Global Forwarding said it continued its commitment to supporting wildlife by assisting a conservation organisation, Warriors of Wildlife, with the rescue of five lions and one tiger from captivity.
The wild cats were transported 8 500kms by plane and 1 700kms by truck.
The company said on behalf of Warriors of Wildlife, the wild cats, all born in Ukraine, were relocated safely to South Africa.
Following this relocation, the non-profit organisation has rescued a total of 28 wild cats and other animals from Ukraine.
In the past, DHL Global Forwarding has also helped relocate several brown bears, pandas, and most recently, “the world’s loneliest elephant,” Kavaan.
DHL Global Forwarding MEA CEO Amadou Diallo said: “To make the journey as pleasant as possible for our special guests, profound expertise and a well-coordinated team are key. Our ‘Lions and Falcons of DHL’, as I like to call our staff, brought the animals safely back to their wild home base.”
“In the sanctuary of Warriors of Wildlife, they are finally back where they belong – two of them have South African parents. The lions Hercules, Cher, Khaya, Ilana, another male lion that was named Arslan by our Turkish Air Freight team, as well as the tiger Kisa, travelled with us for 72 hours. Not an easy job, but one we accepted wholeheartedly.”
The company said the wild cats were kept in a private zoo in Chernivtsi and a zoo in Nikolaev in the south of Ukraine.
DHL brought them to a sanctuary run by the head of the wildlife organisation Lionel de Lange. The Simbonga Game Farm & Sanctuary is located near Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), Eastern Cape. Throughout the whole journey, the animals were monitored by veterinary specialists.
In Ukraine, the DHL team had the support of a Ukrainian vet until departure. Together with the director of Warriors for Wildlife and another veterinarian, they boarded their flight from Boryspil International Airport to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. The last leg of their journey saw the cats travel via road before they were finally welcomed to their new home.
Warriors of Wildlife and Simbonga Game Farm & Sanctuary director Lionel de Lange said: “Transporting wild cats is always a great challenge and requires the trust and cooperation of all parties involved. With DHL as an experienced animal logistics partner, we were able to manage this complex coordination effort with ease and bring the animals safely back to their home. Now, the lions and the tigress are in the very best environment with the proper care they need.”
Warriors of Wildlife is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the rescue, relocation and future care of abused and neglected wildlife in captivity. The organisation was founded in 2016 by Lionel de Lange and his wife Anya Masyach and operates from Ukraine and South Africa.