Fine and Ose on a Grand Tour

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Hellmann transports orphaned baby seals from Frankfurt to South Korea

It took a few days for the two young seal ladies to get used to their new surroundings at Seoul Zoo. But in the meantime, the South Korean fish tastes as good to them as the herring from the North Sea. The two little howlers had previously lost their mother and were nursed in the seal breeding station Westküstenpark St. Peter-Ording, Germany.

Unfortunately, the subsequent attempt to release the two baby seals back into the wild failed - and space in the nursery stations is limited. In such cases, zoos from around the world step in to provide orphaned seals with a new home. The little howlers booked their flight to their new home in South Korea with Hellmann.

Before the animals were allowed to board the plane, however, they had to go through the "OK-to-Forward" procedure, which ensures that they will actually be accepted in the receiving country. This requires a series of checks and control calls in advance. Besides, an official veterinarian is involved in transport from the beginning to ensure that they survive the flight well. Only on the day of the flight is the final go-ahead given for the transport, after a final health check and the issuing of a health certificate.

In good spirits, the beby seals set off on their journey in the special transport box.

Fully conscious and in special transport boxes following the IATA Live Animal Regulation, Ose and Fine finally began their journey. First from Hamburg to Frankfurt in the Animal Lounge of the Airport FRA. This "preliminary run" was taken over by the consignor due to the necessary license for road transport. Further, it went by Lufthansa airplane into the South Korean capital. The transport to Seoul took a total of 48 hours until Fine and Ose were allowed to leave their transport boxes again.

"Such a transport is always associated with stress for the sensitive seals," explains Rene Fritsche, who organized the transport. "Normally, they lie on a sandbank all day long and only move to hunt - so such a long-haul flight first has to be put away," the Airfreight Export Manager continued.

Finally arrived: At Seoul Airport, the two howlers were first well looked after.

Upon arrival at Seoul Airport, Fine and Ose were received and cared for by animal caretakers. After quarantine and the last health check in Seoul, they were handed over to the zoo. And after they have recovered from the travel stresses, they feel very comfortable in their new home.

Katja Siefke

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