FedEx transported a 5-week-old, orphaned sea otter from the carrier’s Anchorage, Alaska, hub, to Pittsburgh, via Memphis, on April 19. The shipment, which required the coordination of Pittsburgh Zoo personnel and FedEx Ground transportation staff, was performed on an MD-11 aircraft.
According to a press release, the pup was discovered next to his deceased mother on a Port Heiden, Alaska, beach in March. Before the Pittsburgh Zoo could provide him with a permanent home, residents of Port Heiden and the Alaska SeaLife Center watched him around the clock.
“Once the ASLC and the Pittsburgh Zoo staff agreed to transport the little otter to Pittsburgh, FedEx was asked to help,” Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium CEO Barbara Baker said in a statement. “We are so very grateful that we were able to utilize our relationship with Pittsburgh-based FedEx Ground to secure the support of FedEx Express and their utmost attention to detail when transporting our precious cargo.”
The sea otter also traveled with an entourage, according to the press release. An ASLC veterinarian and members of Pittsburgh Zoo marine mammal staff accompanied the otter during transit to ensure he was well monitored and in a controlled environment. The otter was also contained in a specially built transportation unit to guarantee that he remained comfortable during the entire flight.
Bruce Clemmons, manager of the FedEx Live Animal Desk, said this shipment speaks to the integrator’s proficiency in shipping live animals. “We’re proud to have put our years of experience and delivery resources to work ensuring a safe and secure arrival for this tough young pup,” he added.
This special shipment comes only three months after FedEx hauled two giant, 3-year-old pandas from Chengdu, China to Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport on a specially chartered Boeing 777-F aircraft. The integrator also has experience transporting sea creators, having safely carried more than 25,000 endangered sea turtle eggs from the Gulf of Mexico to the eastern coast of Florida in 2010.