Coyne Airways gave Tbilisi Zoo a helping hand by safely delivering its latest residents this week. A tiger, seven red-neck wallabies, six Barbary sheep and 24 African penguins made the trip from Amsterdam, the Netherlands to Tbilisi, Georgia, on 2 April 2017 onboard a Coyne Airways B777 freighter.
The animals were donated as part of a project to repopulate the zoo, following a flood, caused by a freak storm on 14 June 2015, in which several of zoo’s animal inhabitants and at least 20 human lives were claimed.
A significant number of the animals which survived the flood escaped onto the streets of Tbilisi, leading to the broadcast of surreal scenes worldwide, including a giant African hippopotamus grazing on roadside greenery and bears perched next to air conditioning units on the first floor of a residential building, struggling to stay above water.
Once the waters receded, the zoo had lost over half of its pre-flood population, with more than 300 animals either having drowned, or shot by emergency forces.
“Efforts to rebuild the zoo have been ongoing since the tragedy struck, and Tbilisi Zoo has received international support and donations,” said Martyn Griffin, sales manager, Coyne Airways.
“We were delighted to play a part in the recovery effort, by flying the animals on our weekly Boeing 777 freighter flight from Amsterdam to Tbilisi,” Griffin said.
The animals were transported in pallets and crates, in line with International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Live Animals Regulations (LAR), the worldwide standard for transporting live animals by commercial airlines.
Coyne Airways provides reliable and secure scheduled cargo services to some of the world’s most difficult to reach destinations and has served Tbilisi, Georgia uninterruptedly for twenty years.