Wild dogs on board


Six Asiatic wild dogs, or Dholes, were the latest species in Finnair Cargo’s impressive airborne menagerie when they made the trip from Málaga to Ranua Wildlife Park in Finland.

There is no end to the variety of freight carried in Finnair aircraft holds, and passengers might be surprised to learn what is being carried in the belly below them. The latest example came in late June 2015 when a pack of Asiatic wild dogs made an airborne migration from Fuengirola Zoo in Málaga, Spain to the world’s northernmost wildlife park at Ranua in Finland.

Finnair Cargo has plenty of experience of carrying animals, with everything from small monkeys and owls to Snow Leopards having flown Finnair at some point. Comfort and minimum stress for the animals are priorities.

“Finnair is very strict about making sure the conditions are right for transporting live animals,” says Mari Heikkilä, curator at Ranua Zoo. “If possible, we transport animals by road, but in this case it would have taken too long. The only option was to fly them via Helsinki and then by road to Ranua.”

Specialist handling

Antero Stoor of ILP-Group Logistics Oy supervised the 4.5-hour flight, using his own special experience in animal transport to make sure that everything went smoothly. 

“I’ve handled a total of 22 different species at one time or another,” he says. “I’ve even had special training from Helsinki’s Korkeasaari Zoo, and I have Finnish government certification in animal transport handling. I’m the only one in the company that has this special certification.”

Stoor tells that he ended up with this expertise by chance. “My family has been breeding dogs in Finland for more than 20 years—perhaps that’s where the interest comes from.”

According to Stoor, ILP-Group Logistics has handled animal transport for all Finnish zoos. The week after the wild dogs took their trip, Stoor was preparing the transportation of a white-tailed eagle from Korkeasaari to Madrid, Spain. 

“Special requirements include a non-stop flight with no changes and certain measurements for the cages. Small monkeys can be some of the most challenging animals to carry because their fingers are so small, and they can get them through the cages.”

Smooth cooperation

Stoor praises Finnair’s competence, experience, and flexibility in animal handling. “In Helsinki we needed a new water bowl for the dogs, and the personnel in the Finnair Cargo office were quick to help us find one. But they’re always very helpful, and it’s always a pleasure to work with them on all the necessary paperwork.”

Ranua Wildlife Park, the dogs’ new home, makes it possible for visitors to view Arctic animals in an environment that is as close to their natural conditions as possible. The Asiatic wild dogs, also known as mountain wolves, have joined a family of 200 animals representing 50 wild species. The Park is open throughout the year. 

Text by Tim Bird
Photos by Mari Heikkilä/Ranua Zoo


Published July 2, 2015

Category: Collaboration, Finnair Cargo