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Continued: American Airlines flies exotica along with paid passengers

  • Article by: MIMI WHITEFIELD and JOSEPH A. MANN JR. , Miami Herald
  • Last update: February 1, 2014 - 4:29 PM

Last fall, Plantation, Fla.-based DHL Express was involved in one of the more unusual animal-moving operations in recent years, moving five manatees between Florida and the Midwest. As part of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rescue and rehabilitation program, sick, injured or orphaned manatees recuperate in critical care centers such as Miami Seaquarium, and then, when they are healthy enough, are moved to other participating centers to put on weight.

On Oct. 11, the courier service flew two rehabilitated sea cows (Pixie and Wheezy) that had been living at the Columbus (Ohio) Zoo and Aquarium and another (Woodstock) that had been staying at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden to Miami. All three were scheduled to be released into the wild after acclimation at Florida facilities.

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  • A forklift transported an American Airlines cargo container at Miami International Airport, where exotic shipments are commonplace.

  • American Airlines Cargo employee Roy Maltez secured a shipment of fresh okra that was headed from Miami International to Paris.


    ANIMALS aloft

    A sampling of what American Airlines ships:

    • Nearly 1.6 million pounds of live tropical fish last year.

    • More than 2,200 pets a month worldwide.

    • More than 100,000 pounds of live Florida lobsters weekly in peak season.

    • Among the largest creatures it has moved are whales, dolphins and sharks.


    • Shipper or agent must certify that primates being shipped were born or bred in captivity or that they are being shipped from or to a zoo, preserve or rehabilitation center.

    • American will not accept primates used for lab research or experimentation.

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