That time we flew a rhino across the Tasman

Published on 21st September 2016 at 8:51

Mtoto says farewell to New Zealand as he boards his Qantas 767 Freighter for Sydney. Photo Credit: Auckland Zoo

This week on Roo Rhino Tales, we’re talking about animals.

Of the millions of passengers we carry around the globe, most of them are human.

But did you know every year we also fly around 50,000 animals – that’s almost 1000 a week.

Mostly, it’s people’s beloved dogs and cats.

But we’ve also carried snakes, spiders, pigs, koalas and even the occasional kangaroo.

A couple of weeks ago, the team at Qantas Freight achieved a record of sorts carrying one of our heaviest ever passengers – a 1.7 tonne African White Rhinoceros called Mtoto.

The rhino made the trip across the Tasman from Auckland to Sydney (via Christchurch) onboard a Qantas Freight Boeing 767.

Mtoto flew comfortably in a special aluminium crate and was looked after by Auckland Zoo keeper David Crimp. There was no inflight catering but we were able to screen the Lion King and the first of the Madagascar movies on the way over. Ok we didn’t really do that.

Rhinos don’t need to carry passports but there’s special quarantine forms that must be completed to make sure Mtoto is able to call Australia home.

Once his paperwork was cleared in Sydney,  it was onto a truck for the journey by road to the Altina Wildlife Park – where he’ll be cared for along with a variety of other exotic animals.

White Rhinos are a threatened species in Africa and that’s why it’s important that animals like Mtoto are protected.

Organisations like Altina and of course zoos have a special role to play in protecting these giant animals.

But for the team at Qantas Freight and with our mates at Jetpets – helping Mtoto get to his new forever home was all in a day’s work.

Watch his journey below. For more Rhino, we mean Roo Tales click here.