Qatar Cargo undertakes roarsome flight

Photo: Qatar Airways Cargo

Qatar Airways Cargo has again teamed up with Animal Defenders International (ADI) to transport six young lions to Africa after their rescue from the illegal wildlife trade.

As part of Qatar Airways Cargo’s WeQare Rewild the Planet initiative, the lions were flown from Kuwait to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg before being transported to the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary.

Known as the “Kuwait 6”, the four male lions and two female lions were either seized or captured after being abandoned and cared for at Kuwait Zoo.

ADI was contacted by Kuwait government officials to help the lions and subsequently offered them a home at its 455-acre sanctuary in South Africa.

Mark Drusch, chief officer cargo at Qatar Airways Cargo, said: “We are proud to once again be supporting ADI, this time in bringing these six beautiful lions home to Africa.

“Our WeQare Rewild the Planet initiative is our commitment to returning wildlife and endangered species back to their natural habitat, free of charge.

“It takes a lot of effort and logistics for our team to organise moving such large animals; from the logistics at the airports, loading and unloading the animals from the aircraft, to ensuring the correct cages and wellbeing of the animals are in place, but it is something we are all collectively very proud and passionate to be a part of.”

Jan Creamer, ADI president, added: “The Kuwait 6 lions have their whole lives ahead of them and will have acres of space at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary. 

“We are thankful to Qatar Airways Cargo and their WeQare program in once again supporting us by covering the cost of the air transport back to Africa. We are also very thankful to the ADI supporters who are helping to fund their care.”

Qatar Airways Cargo, which flew over 550,000 animals in 2023, recently opened its air cargo animal facility at its Doha hub and relaunched its Live product, setting new benchmarks in the transport of live animals.

The airline’s WeQare sustainability programme consists of a series of focus chapters based on four core pillars: environment, society, economy, and culture.

Chapter 2 – Rewild the Planet encourages the preservation of ecological balance by offering free transport to organisations involved in returning wild animals to their natural habitat.

Qatar Cargo expands animal transport operation with world’s largest airport facility

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Rebecca Jeffrey

Rebecca Jeffrey
New to aviation journalism, I joined Air Cargo News in late 2021 as deputy editor. I previously worked for Mercator Media’s six maritime sector magazines as a reporter, heading up news for Port Strategy. Prior to this, I was editor for Recruitment International (now TALiNT International). Contact me on: [email protected]