Heavy and oversized cargo specialist Volga-Dnepr Group is accustomed to moving awkward objects, such as cars, satellites, and industrial oil pumps. Bulky as they are, at least those objects stay put when workers strap them down inside the Russian airline's AN-124-100 and IL-76TD-90VD heavy transport planes or Boeing 747 and Boeing 737 freighters.
That wasn't the case, however, when the company was hired to move six rare Przewalski horses from a nature preserve in Montpellier, France, to the vast prairie steppes of Orenburg, Russia.
Biologists carefully secured each horse in a portable wooden stable for the six-hour flight, then accompanied the animals as they landed in Orenburg and completed their journey by truck.
"We took the utmost care of these special animals," said Alexey Grebinyak, lead load planning specialist at AirBridgeCargo Airlines, which partnered with Volga-Dnepr Airlines on the job. "The stables were carefully installed and secured inside the cargo cabin, and ambient noises were minimized to ensure the horses were as comfortable as possible. We also maintained the temperature in the cargo hold below 20 degrees C [68 degrees F]."
After a long day of travel, the endangered horses arrived at their new home along the banks of the Ural River, about 930 miles southeast of Moscow. Biologists plan to release them into the wild and reintroduce the species in the Preduralskaya Steppe of the Orenburgsky Reserve.