Monday, March 25, 2013

Live Animal Cargoes Can Be Exported for All the Right Reasons

In a Just Cause and with Proper Treatment There Can Surely be Few Objections
Shipping News Feature

CANADA – RUSSIA – There are few such delicate subjects at the moment than the export of live animals but before screams of protest are heard the latest project by air cargo carrier Volga-Dnepr Airlines should surely be commended, both for its purpose and in the way the shipment was handled.

After delivering specialised containers to Canada the airline made the return journey to the remote Republic of Yakutia with the boxes carrying a precious cargo of thirty European wood bison calves. The animals were accompanied by veterinarians and representatives of the Canadian Elk Island National Park to ensure their health and comfort during the journey after the IL-76TD-90VD flight had been organised by the Russian broker Aerologic Line, which chartered the Volga-Dnepr aircraft on behalf of the Ministry of Nature of the Republic of Yakutia which is making strident efforts to protect and restore other forms of wildlife in the region such as the brown bear.

The young animals are destined to take part in a breeding programme in their new home as the bison is currently a near threatened species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list. Previously, in 2006 and 2011, 60 calves were donated by the Canadian Government to the specially set up nursery areas ‘Ust-Buotama’ (Khangalas ulus) and ‘Tympynay’ (Gorny ulus), also in the aptly named Republic of Yakutia, to help re-establish the Eurasian population of bison.

Those shipments saw the animals settle well in their new surroundings and this resulted in a successful repopulation programme which, following initial births in 2008 means that prior to the latest shipment, ninety two animals now populate the Ust-Buotama and Tympynay reservations. The first wood bison, a species distinct from the native North American species, came to the Elk Island National Park in 1965 since when many hundreds have been transferred to Russia and other suitable destinations with the intention to pull the species back from the brink of extinction.

There is a further delivery of bison to Yakutia scheduled for 2015 in an intensive effort to undo some of the damage which has been done by man since at least the 8th century when the native bison population of Gaul was wiped out, since when the creatures have fallen before ever advancing civilisation which has destroyed habitats and hunted them relentlessly for food and pelts.

Photo: The bison, suitably packed, go aboard the IL-76TD-90VD aircraft.

Footnote: The Sakha (Yakutia) Republic borders part of Siberia, is only slightly smaller in size than India, spans three different time zones yet is home to a population of only around one million inhabitants.