Type of the container
Size of the container
Food and Water during Transport
Appopriate Temperature Range
Mitigation of Light and Noise
Timing of Release
All individuals should be well acclimated to the shipping container in
advance of the shipping date. Type of container depends on length of
travel, availability of air flights, and personality of the animal being
moved. Animals should also be acclimated to the presence of animal care
staff in the event that the animal needs to be observed, fed, and/or
watered. Experience has shown that they do well in either a properly sized
crate or a properly modified trailer. They will often browse and drink during
the trip and, if given the opportunity, rest comfortably.
Type of Container: The okapi travels well in a stall of a modified horse
trailer. For long, overland shipments (2-3 days), this is a good option. For
short trips, a narrow crate in which the animal cannot turn around is
acceptable. For international shipments or for flighty individuals, a wide
crate has been successfully used and is now encouraged. This wide crate
allows the animal to turn around and comfortably lie down. It is less confining
and offers more opportunity for the animal to rest. In all cases,
IATA regulations must be met or exceeded.
Size of Container should match that of the individual. The animal
should be able to stand in a normal stance. For short trips, a crate as narrow
as 24 inches (61 cm.) for adults is adequate to prevent the animal
from trying to turn around. On trips of longer than 12 hours in duration,
the container should allow the animal to comfortably turn around and lie
Food and Water during Transport: Forage should be readily available
during the shipment. If possible, following the animal’s normal
feeding/watering schedule is recommended. Grain is not necessary or
should be fed at a reduced rate (1/4 ration) during shipment. Fresh produce
may be provided to encourage eating and provide moisture. Small
amounts of water can be offered. Food and water containers can be
removable if an attendant is present, or rubber tubs secured to the ends or
corners of the container.
Bedding: A thick layer of wood shavings covered with hay is appropriate.
Or a 6 inch layer of dirt/sand covered heavily with hay is acceptable. This
provides good footing, absorbs moisture during transport and gives the
animal a cushion on which to rest. Deep bedding also absorbs moisture
and helps separate the animal from urine and feces. Additional forage
added enroute further protects the animal from its wastes. Bedding cannot
be changed while enroute.
Appropriate Temperature Range: Temperatures should be maintained
within the normal husbandry range for this species.
Supplemental heat should be provided if the temperature falls
below 55°F (13°C) and cooling should be provided if the temperature
rises above 85°F (29.4°C). Increased ventilation may meet the
need for cooling, especially during a truck transport.
Mitigation of Light and Noise: Trailers and crates should be
constructed to minimize strong light and direct views. When crated
animals are waiting to be loaded onto a transport vehicle, they
should be placed in a location as remote from the hustle and bustle
of the terminal as possible. An attendant should remain with
the crate to assure disturbance is minimized. A radio may be utilized
to mitigate unusual noises, which cannot be eliminated.
Group Size: Okapis are solitary and should be transported separately.
Access during Transport: Access to the animal during transport
is limited to visual/tactile access through the established ports in
the container. It is not possible to enter the container with the animal.
The animal should not be removed from its container unless
it can be contained in another acceptable area and extreme circumstances
Transport time: Routes and schedules should be predetermined
and reviewed to minimize the length of the trip as much as possible.
If an animal is acclimated and in a spacious container, lengthy
trips are feasible with no apparent ill effects.
Timing of Release: Size and Type of Enclosure at Destination:
It is preferable to release an animal into an interior space where
locomotion, light, and visibility can be controlled.The animal care
staff routine should be instituted immediately to assist the animal
in acclimation to its new environment. It is helpful if a keeper
familiar with the animal accompanies the shipment to assist with
FOR THE OKAPI SSP - Sept 2004
Edited by Terry DeRosa, San Antonio Zoo,
Fran Lyon, White Oak Conservation Center and
Ann Petric, Okapi SSP Coordinator, Brookfield Zoo
Illustration: J. Busch
Updated and adapted for the web, Patrick Immens