It is recommended to transport Black rhinos by truck or airplane in a crate. Each method has its advantages and each should be carefully considered and evaluated concerning the distance to be travelled, the personnel needed and the temperatures to which the animals will be subjected.
Typical problems that can occur in shipping include the following:
Animals destroying and or climbing out of the crate top
Animals becoming inverted in the crate and unable to right themselves
Animals destroying end panels or doors, resulting in eye, horn or facial injuries
Prolonged excessive exertion resulting in hyperthermia and/or myopathy
Truck: When transporting Black rhinos by truck, open trailers should be protected from excessive wind, rain and sun. In extreme hot or cold temperatures an enclosed trailer is an option. In any case, the vehicle must be climate controlled.
Airplane: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has made the IATA Live Animals Regulations (LAR). These Live Animal Regulations are a Worldwide Standards for transporting live animals by airlines. The objective of the IATA Live Animals Regulations is to ensure that all animals are transported safely and humanely by air, whether it is to transport a pet, an animal for zoological or agricultural purposes or for any other reason (IATA, 2007).
The IATA Live Animals Regulations are applicable to members of the International Air Transport Association according to the provisions of Cargo Services Conference Resolution 620 and to airlines being parties to the IATA Multilateral Interline Traffic Agreement-Cargo (IATA, 2006).
The IATA Live Animals Regulations are accepted by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Office International de Epizooties (OIE) as guidelines in respect to transportation of animals by air. These regulations have been used by the Council of Europe as a basis for its code of conduct for the international transport of farm animals. The European Union has adopted the IATA Live Animals Regulations as the minimum standard for transporting animals in containers, pens and stalls. As an increasing number of countries adopted or accepted these regulations as a part of their national legislation, shippers are warned that shipping live animals in violation of the regulations may constitute a breach of the applicable law and may be subject to legal penalties.
The IATA Live Animals Regulations container requirement 71 concerns the rhino species.
Transport box / crate: The IATA Live Animals Regulations container requirement 71 states the requirements of the transport container that is applicable to transport of Elephants, Hippopotamus and Rhino species (IATA, 2006).
Material and dimensions: Materials that can be used to construct a transport container, according to the container requirement 71, are metal and hardwood. The transport container should be big enough to restrict the movement as well as restrain the animal in question. The animal must be able to stand naturally without being cramped but must not be able to move freely (IATA, 2006).
Container dimensions should be determined by the animal’s size. In general, the container should be 30 cm longer and wider than the animal when it is lying on its side. Approximate container dimensions are 350 cm in length, a height of 191 cm height, and 140 cm wide to prevent the animal from turning around (Fouraker and Wagener, 1996).
Frame and slides: The frame of the transport container should be made out of strong metal welded or bolted together depending on the weight of the animal. Solid hardwood sides, with no internal projections, must line the outer framework for extra strength. All woodwork must be secured with bolts and nuts that face the exterior so that they can be easily tightened from the outside. Spring steel weld mesh can also be used in combination with strong metal corner posts, together with a rigidly braced top and sides. In either case the lower part of the sides must be solid and leak-proof. A heavy plastic foil or tarpaulin covered with sufficient absorbent material which is tied up half a meter around the crate can be used (IATA, 2006).
Floor: The floor must be made of thick tongue and groove of at least 2.5cm (1in.) thickness or its equivalent and have a non-slip surface. It must be completely leak-proof (IATA, 2006).
Roof: The roof must be solid over the animal’s head and shoulders and slatted over the loins and hindquarters to give good ventilation (IATA, 2006).
Doors: A series of metal bars must be bolted to the top and bottom of both the entry and exit of the container. Exterior to these bars sliding or hinged solid hardwood entry and exit doors must be made to completely cover the entry and exit. The doors must be fastened by a sufficient number of strong bolts which must be able to resist the weight of the animal. The upper third of both doors must have ventilation openings. Entry and exit must be clearly marked as such (IATA, 2006).
Ventilation: Through the slatted or louvered upper third of both wooden doors and the slatted portion of the roof there should be adequate ventilation (IATA, 2006).
Feed and water containers: The water container must be fixed in the front of the container. It must be made of strong metal and wide enough for the animal’s muzzle to enter. The edges of the water trough should be smooth so the animal cannot hurt itself. For feeding, outside access can be from a low wooden flap, clearly marked “Feeding” at the base of the door. Food can be placed between the bars and the door. The access flap must be securely closed when not in use (IATA, 2006).
Forklift extrusions: Forklift extrusions must be provided as an integral part of the design (IATA, 2006). An example of a container that can be used for rhinos is shown in below.
An ample amount of absorbent material such as wood shavings is required for bedding. The animal must be watered before shipment. Animals do not normally require additional feeding or watering during 24 hours following the time of dispatch. If feeding or watering is required due to an unforeseen delay, instructions supplied by the shipper must be followed (IATA, 2006).
It is recommended that all shipments of these species be accompanied by a person/veterinary and go through a crating training well before dispatch (IATA, 2006). A light sedation is recommended for transports taking longer than a couple of hours (Fouraker and Wagener, 1996).
Markings on transport container: The markings on the transport container must be durable and printed or otherwise marked on or affixed to the external surface of the live animal container. English must be used in addition to the language which may be required by the state of origin (IATA, 2006).
Unless otherwise specified in these Regulations, each live animal container must be marked, durably and legibly on the outside of the container, with each of the following:
The full name and address and contact number of the shipper, consignee and a 24-hour contact (if it is not one of the aforementioned persons responsible for the shipment).
The scientific and common name of the animal(s) and quantity of each animal contained in the container, as shown on the shipper’s certification.
Containers carrying animals which can inflict poisonous bites or stings must be boldly marked “POISONOUS”. Aggressive animals or birds that can possibly inflict injury through the bars or ventilation openings of the container must have an additional warning label “This Animal Bites”.
Affix special feeding and watering instructions to the container.
In general, tranquillisation is not advocated for the transportation of live animals. However, certain wild species require the use of such medication. Whenever used, they must be administered under competent supervision and the name of the sedative, time of administration and the route of administration must be clearly marked on the container and a copy of the record must be attached to the documents relating to that shipment. Any further medication administered must be recorded and accompany the shipment with the name of the sedative, time of administration and the route of administration (IATA, 2006).
It is mandatory to attach at least one IATA “Live Animals” or one “Laboratory Animals” label or tag, properly completed, to each live animal container, unless otherwise stated in the individual container requirements. Animal containers may have the appropriate labelling imprinted (IATA, 2006). The label for live animals should have the following header “Live Animals”, the colour should be bright green on a light background. The minimum dimensions of the label are 10 cm x 15 cm and letters of 2.5 cm (IATA, 2006). The label for live animals is shown to the left. In addition to the “Live Animals” label, it is mandatory that the “This Way Up” labels or markings be placed on at least two opposite sides. Labels may be imprinted on the container. The label for “This way up” should be black or red on a contrasting background. The minimum dimensions of the label are 74 mm x 105 mm and letters (IATA, 2006). The label for “This way up” is shown below.