We were greatly honoured to transport two life sea otters from Alaska to Copenhagen.
This is one of QCSDK biggest jobs ever!
Air charter – a common thing for forwarders in the Time Critical sectors. But combining the charter with a valuable load of live animals on the CITES lists of endangered animals, things get a little tricky.
One of the biggest projects in the fairly young history of QCSDK happened in week 41, after about 40 weeks of planning. And we are extremely proud to be part of this project.
2 live sea otters, named Dixon and Riggs were to move from Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward, AK to their new home at Den Blå Planet, Copenhagen, Denmark. The sea otter is a very special animal. It looks really cute, but it is a predator. And it get easily stressed, especially outside water.
QCSDK was trusted the difficult logistics of moving the two demanding VIPs to their new home and it was a challenging, yet inspiring and fantastic job, done in close cooperation with the shipper, the consignee and the operator – as well as a lot of authorities.
The sea otter was almost extinct and is on the protect list of animals, CITES. Therefore lots of permissions and documents are to be in place before a job like this can happen. Den Blå Planet (National Aquarium) in Denmark is one of the few stations in Europe having sea otters in exhibition to focus on a fantastic wild animal, who would not be able to survive alone. When the otters strand, they have lost their flock and can not survive. When they are minimum two together, they look after each other and even sleep hand in hand to avoid drifting away. Come and see them on Den Blå Planet (www.denblaaplanet.dk) and you will find yourself watching them for hours. The Alaska Sea Life Center is a rescue center for lost otters, which are predominantly found in the north-eastern part of the Pacific Ocean, near the coast of Alaska.
But what makes these otters so special when being transported? As mentioned, otter is easily stressed, especially outside its usual environment. Therefore, the transit time needs to be as short as possible. The otters are bathed just before take-off and, minutes before, the otters have to be examined and approved safe for export by a veterinary inspector. During transport, they have to snack and get some food at least every hour. The temperature has to remain cold at around 14 degrees celsius throughout the flight to ensure comfort for these two otters but quite cold for the caretakers and the rest of the crew onboard. Another special thing is the cabin pressure – the otters cannot survive the normal pressure of the cargo hold on aircraft- the pressure needs to constantly be at equivalent to 7500ft, compared to a normal 33000ft cruising altitude.
Our scope was to find an aircraft able to fly directly from Anchorage to Copenhagen, withhold the cabin-temperature low and the cabin-pressure constant at 7500ft eqv, and preferable have a small hold where it is dark and semi quiet.
We had a few options, but ended in sourcing a Bombardier Global 6000. It was a really close cooperation with the NetJets team, who also had a job of a life time. Plane was perfect for the job, and it landed in Copenhagen 8 hours and 20 minutes after take-off. When flying close to the North Pole flight time is reduced significantly.
The two VIPs Dixon and Riggs arrived in Copenhagen along with the other 5 passengers at 09.40 Wednesday morning. A team was ready to receive them, and with close contact to the CPH Airport Veterinary Center and a pre-acceptance of all the paperwork the unloading, check, examination and customs clearance was done in less than an hour, and the otters moved to their new villa with their own pool, own ice-machine and fantastic ocean-view over Øresund.
The Alaskan team, as well as the veterinarians and our client were pleased with the logistics plan set for this job – and we were proud to be involved.
It is safe to say our client could have a Peace of mind.
Welcome to Copenhagen.
About Dixon and Riggs
When Dixon was found on August 9, 2018, he was only a few weeks old, alone and in great need of help. He made small faint calls for his mother because sea otter usually deeply dependent on their mother at the beginning of life. A good samaritan scouted for his parents, but there were no indications that they were nearby. Dixon was picked up from the water’s edge where he had no power to raise his head and breathe properly.
At full speed, he was transferred to the Alaska Sealife Center and received immediate treatment. He weighed just 3.85kg, which is not much more than the birth weight of sea otters, and was crippled, dehydrated and infected. Fortunately, the center managed to save him. Dixon was looked after around the clock until he was six months old.
Riggs has similar story to the Dixons. He was found near a road 400 meters from the sea and was ver weak. At the Alaska Sealife Center, he quickly learned how to use suckling bottle and get food in the scraps. Riggs was also looked after 24/7 until he was six months old.
After a tough start to life, a lot has happened on the positive side. Both sea otters today are healthy and weigh 15-20 kg but they can’t handle themselves out in the open sea, since they haven’t had a mother to teach them in real life. Both are 100 percent dependent on professional caregivers. Now, they are in Den Blå Planet- The Danish National Aquarium.
QCS- Quick Cargo Service Denmark A/S was incorporated in 2010 by Allan Bach Christensen and his right-hand man Elo Fogstrup. It was a great challenge for them as the world suffered from the economic crisis during those years. But, with the ambition, determination and strong passion towards the industry, they managed to continue the growth and stay relevant to this date.
Today, QCS Denmark continue to be active with even bigger team, full of passion, energy and ready to make the difference while maintaining the focus on the service quality and efficiency towards partners, clients, and the markets.