Mid 16th century: an elephant named Salomone crossed half of Europe on foot, from Lisbon to Vienna, passing through Spain and Italy, as a wedding gift from Catherine of Castile, wife of King João III of Portugal, to cousin Maximilian of Austria.

Elephant travel

The caravan departing from Belem was composed, according to the lively imagination of José Saramago, “of the the cornac and two assistants, some men who would secure supplies, the ox-cart with the water vat and a gigantic load of bales of varied fodder, the cavalry platoon that would have ensured the safety of the journey and the arrival of everyone to their destination and finally a wagon of the army supplies pulled by two mules”.

The well-being of the animal, its correct feeding, its safety and the will to bring it in perfect conditions at the destination, were the priorities of the Portuguese king, who wanted a perfect logistic machine, allowing the animal to arrive in Vienna in May 1552.

Today the transport of live animals is still a very delicate logistics activity.

The means and methods of transport have changed, but the priorities remain the same as those of 500 years ago: the wellbeing of the transported animals must be guaranteed at every stage of the shipment.
For this reason, the CITES convention has been in force since 1975, requiring that every import, export or transit of protected animals be subject to a series of permits and certificates.

The transport organization can be done only by highly specialized customs operators able to perfectly coordinate all the involved subjects, so that the transport of the animals is as fast, safe and protected as possible.

On 4 October, CAD Latasped oversaw the shipment to Saudi Arabia of 4 splendid examples of female elephants and 5 turtles, destined for a natural park.

A high-quality logistics operation, which involved the veterinarians to monitor animal health conditions, the airline for the suitability of transport modes, and a Malpensa Handler for ground handling in all delicate phases of the passage of animals from trucks to airplanes.
The perfect coordination of the various actors has allowed all operations to be carried out safely and promptly.

CAD Latasped has also managed all customs procedures, including coordination with CITES discharge authorities, prior notification to customs control bodies and production of the necessary documentation at all stages of transport.

“From the organizational point of view, this transport was certainly a challenge that we won – commented Flavio Malaterra Director of CAD Latasped – once again, our team has shown great competence in managing complex customs practices, great coordination with all the subjects involved and great capacity for action “.