This was just too sweet a story not to share! A few days ago, British Airways helped save a baby Slow Loris named Nora, transporting the little one in style from Lebanon to its new permanent home of Monkey World in Dorset located in South West England. The tiny primate had been illegally put up for sale in a pet shop in Beirut after being snatched away from its mother.
Luckily, the Lebanese authorities discovered Nora before she was sold on and she was quickly taken into protection by charity group ‘Animals Lebanon’. Unfortunately, they don’t have the facilities to permanently look after Nora so they reached out to Monkey World which already successfully looks after a group of Slow Lori’s.
“We needed to get Nora to the UK where she can live with others of her own kind and receive specialist care,” explained Dr Alison Cronin, who runs the Ape Rescue Centre at Monkey World.
“British Airways and IAG Cargo have worked with us over the last few years to rescue illegally obtained primates from across the world. We knew when we called them they’d want to help with the conservation of this incredible endangered species,” she continued.
But transporting Slow Lori’s is no easy task. The endangered nocturnal primate is mainly found living wild in China, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia – the species was nearly wiped out during the Vietnam War of the 1960’s when large swathes of their natural habitat were bombed and burnt.
Getting Nora to the UK safely would require her to travel in style – in this case, being assigned her very own fully lay flat Business Class seat.
And while the sight of seeing a Slow Lori on a flight is still incredibly rare, this isn’t the first time British Airways has transported the species – the airline has experience from recusing Kan’bulo the Slow Lori from the Maldives in 2014 and last year, the carrier assisted in the rescue of Mimi, an Orang-utan from Russia.
Tanami the Koala Bear
Only a couple of weeks ago, passengers on a Eurowings flight from Dusseldorf to Edinburgh were treated to a very unusual sight when they found Tanami, a 19-month-old Queensland koala bear was going to be joining them on the short two-hour flight.
Tanami even got to enjoy an entire row of economy seats – more than the regular passengers on the budget airline as it travelled to its new home of RZSS Edinburgh Zoo. The koala is joining a conservation breeding programme at the zoo.
“Koalas are very sensitive animals, so special care needs to be taken when transporting them. They travel in the plane’s cabin and not in the hold so keepers can easily make sure everything’s okay during the flight,” explained the zoo’s Darren McGarry.
Ever heard of a quokka?
And then there’s Qantas who earlier this year named their third Boeing 787 Dreamliner after one of Australia’s cutest animals, the quokka. The normally nocturnal marsupials are largely found on Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth so you can be forgiven for never having heard of them before.
But Qantas assures us they are incredibly friendly and possibly even the “happiest animal on Earth.” They even enjoy having the odd selfie with tourists from time to time.
The quokka was one of the most popular suggestions made by Australian’s when it came to naming the new Dreamliner fleet – even if the rest of the world isn’t quite so familiar with this adorable creature.
With cuteness overload fast approaching, it’s probably worth taking some time out to mention that many airlines take their responsibilities in carrying animals very seriously (despite some of the well-publicised horror stories that have made headlines this year).
As just one example, Etihad’s cargo division transports more than 2,500 horses around the world every year. In February, the airline even managed to successfully deliver 51 thoroughbred racehorses from Belgium to Hong Kong for a highly prestigious racing event.
Still, even that achievement might seem tame in comparison to Saudia’s efforts in transporting 80 falcons on one of its planes last year. – amongst other passengers!
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.