Rhino Take Flight

26 May 2010

A First at Dube TradePort
26 May 2010


Sky is the limit for Dube TradePort, home to the new King Shaka International Airport, North of Durban. The cargo terminal at Dube TradePort is not only the first in the world to have just one air handler for international cargo (leading world cargo handling company, Worldwide Flight Services), it is also the first of its kind to emphasize large-scale environmental awareness and is by far the most animal-friendly.


Together with the South African National Parks (SANParks) and the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), this state-of-the-art cargo terminal demonstrated its groundbreaking cargo handling capability by facilitating the first successful return of five black rhinos to Zambia, where they were previously poached to extinction.


Zambia was once home to Africa’s third largest rhino population, nearing 12,000. Popular for their strong keratin horns, they were heavily poached during the 1970’s and 1980’s, and in 1998 they were declared nationally extinct. Dube TradePort and Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) have revolutionized the cargo handling industry in South Africa by assisting to reintroduce the black rhino back into Zambia.


The black rhino were originally destined to be brought in from the Eastern Cape Parks Board, but as it was questionable whether they would adapt well to the generally warm and humid Zambian climate, negotiations were entered into with the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife to source the animals from KwaZulu-Natal in exchange for the rhino in the Eastern Cape.


These majestic game animals, one male and four female, were brought into Dube TradePort on Wednesday the 26th of May 2010 at approximately 04h00am from the Hluhluwe-uMfolozi Park and the Ithala Game Reserve in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, then trans located from Durban on a specially-chartered SAFAIR Hercules C-130 flight to North Luangwa National Park (NLNP) in Zambia.


Nico le Roux, General Manager of Worlwide Flight Services, is proud to ascertain that although Dube TradePort and Worldwide Flight Services has handled smaller passenger birds and pets destined for Dubai, the rhino, which can weigh up to two tons each are, to date, the biggest animals ever to be transported by Dube TradePort.


Owing to the sensitive and specialized nature of transporting animals of this bulk, they were first sedated and loaded into heavy duty stalls at their point of departure. External cranes were brought to the airport to load these animals into the SAFAIR aircraft, thus greatly reducing the manual labour of the handler.

In keeping with their vigorous campaign for environmental conservation and caring for all our animals, Dube TradePort and Worldwide Flight Services are planning to build a grandiose Border Inspection Post (BIP) for live animals at the cargo terminal.


Although this facility will mainly be used by racehorse and polo fraternities, a state veterinarian will be available around the clock to inspect all internationally destined animals on departure from and arrival into South Africa.