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Temperature-controlled transport of a very special cargo

With expertise and detailed planning we braved a cold winter and provided the vital stable temperature for ten crocodiles on their journey from Denmark to Arizona in the USA.

Ten young, rare black caiman crocodiles travelled with DSV from Denmark to Arizona in the USA at a vital and constant temperature of 25 degrees Celcius. The crocodiles are a donation from Aalborg Zoo to Phoenix Herpetological Society.

"The reptiles are very important to us and it is crucial that they are transported under the right conditions. We have worked closely with DSV on many previous occasions and their specialists are experienced and know what is possible. DSV guarantees the correct temperature at every stage of the journey and keeps us well-informed all the way," says Rikke Kruse Nielsen, Head Zoologist at Aalborg Zoo.

Previously, DSV has transported a polar bear, an Emperor Tamarin monkey and a Red Panda for Aalborg Zoo.

Keeping a cold-blooded reptile warm

The best way to transport a crocodile is in a tube with air vents. It prevents them from spinning around and getting stressed and thus there is no need for sedation. Aalborg Zoo had the containers built to specifications provided by DSV.

The containers were provided with heat packs to help maintain the correct temperature and then loaded into a pre-heated truck to be driven to a pre-heated room at the airport. Special heated baggage trucks took the crocodiles to the aircraft's heated cargo hold.

At arrival in Arizona the prevailing temperatures are much more accommodating for the black caimans.

First caimans bred in captivity

When the black caiman crocodiles where hatched in Aalborg Zoo May 2013 and August 2015, respectively, they were no less than worldwide sensations and the first time ever a zoo managed to breed black caiman crocodiles in captivity.

The black caiman is a large crocodilian and one of the biggest extant members of the family Alligatoridae of the Amazon basin growing to sizes of at least 5 metres. It rules at the absolute top of the food chain but is an endangered species due to high demand for it's beautiful dark, well-marked skin. Aalborg Zoo donates the caimans to other zoo’s as a part of a breeding programme in order to help ensure their survival.

Black caiman baby crocodile in hand
Black caiman baby crocodile. Photo: René Schütze/Polfoto

About Phoenix Herpetological Society

Phoenix Herpetological Society (PHS) was founded in 2001 by three long-time, passionate reptile enthusiasts with a vision to make a difference for reptiles in the state of Arizona through education, rehabilitation, rescue, and relocation. More than 1,700 animals inhabit the sanctuary.
Read more about Phoenix Herpetological Society

About Aalborg Zoo

Founded in 1935, Aalborg Zoo in Denmark is not just a place to visit but also a research centre and a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, contributing to conservation of endangered species throughout the world.
Read more about Aalborg Zoo

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