Qatar Cargo steps in to fly lonely lion to sanctuary

Source: Animal Defenders International via Qatar Cargo

Qatar Airways Cargo has flown a lonely lion from an abandoned Armenian zoo to a rehabilitation centre in South Africa.

Ruben the lion was left in the zoo for five years until Animals Defenders International (ADI) and Qatar Airways Cargo teamed up on the animal’s transport.

The lion was flown 5,200 miles to his new home at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary as part of the carrier’s WeQare initative.

Elisabeth Oudkerk, senior vice president cargo sales & network planning at Qatar Airways Cargo said: “We are committed to preserving wildlife and endangered species, that is why we launched our WeQare Chapter 2 initiative: ‘Rewild the Planet’ back in 2020.

“We pledged to return wildlife and endangered species back to their natural habitat, free of charge and we will continue to do so.

“When ADI approached us and explained the sad story of Ruben, we immediately knew we had to help them.

“There are a lot of logistics involved in moving animals like Ruben; from the logistics at the airports involved, the process for loading and unloading the animals from the aircraft, to ensuring the correct cages and wellbeing of the animals are in place.”

Jan Creamer, president of ADI, added: “Ruben was really in trouble until Qatar Airways Cargo stepped up. ADI had been funding his care in Armenia since December and when we could find no flights for him we feared he could be stuck there.

“Then Qatar Airways Cargo ‘WeQare’ initiative stepped in, moving a larger aircraft with hold doors big enough for Ruben’s crate, into the scheduled passenger route out of Yervan. We are so thankful to Qatar Airways Cargo for all their support in helping get Ruben to South Africa.

“Seeing Ruben walk on grass for the first time, hearing the voices of his own kind, with the African sun on his back, brought us all to tears.”

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]