EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 2, 2014

Lobsters, monkeys, cobras: Your jetliner's cargo might surprise you


Last fall, it moved five manatees between Florida and the Midwest. As part of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rescue and rehabilitation program, sick, injured or orphaned manatees recuperate in critical care centers such as Miami Seaquarium, and then, when they are healthy enough, are moved to other participating centers to put on weight.

On Oct. 11, the courier service flew two rehabilitated sea cows (Pixie and Wheezy) that had been living at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and another (Woodstock) that had been staying at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden to Miami. All three were scheduled to be released into the wild after acclimation at Florida facilities.

The next day, two manatees were flown to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport from Miami for care at the Ohio zoos.

“Moving 5,100 pounds of manatees halfway across the country requires a lot of planning,” said Joe Collopy, regional sales manager at the DHL Express Americas hub in Cincinnati.

He was the manager in charge of the move, which DHL dubbed “the sea cow shuffle.”

The manatees traveled in specially designed padded crates with open tops and were accompanied by a zoo representative for their flights aboard DHL’s Boeing 767 freighters.

Care also was taken to keep the sea cows as far away from jet engine noise as possible so they wouldn’t become stressed, and they traveled in a section where the temperature was maintained at 70 degrees because manatees cannot tolerate low temperatures..

“This was a very complicated process,” Collopy said. “but it’s a very nice, refreshing moment when it all comes together.”

Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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