"" Writer's Wanderings: Would You Charge This Passenger For Extra Bags?

Monday, July 04, 2011

Would You Charge This Passenger For Extra Bags?

Saturday we collected our vacation mail from the post office and sat at the kitchen table with our second cups of coffee and went through it. We always set the trash can between us and by the time we're done 3/4 of the mail is in it. Sometime while we were away, our copy of the Cleveland Zoological Society's magazine arrived. The cover featured one of my favorite animals, the meerkats, so I started perusing the articles.

I almost missed a short column in the back that talked about saying goodbye to one of the zoo's rhinos. Eastern black rhinoceros Zuri was sent to the Oregon Zoo in Portland on loan for breeding purposes. When I read about the preparations for her trip, I decided I had it pretty good with only having to pack a suitcase and board a plane.

Zuri weighs 2600 pounds and had to fly in a crate. The process of preparing for the trip took almost a year. Using positive reinforcement, Zuri was acclimated to a large crate a little each day until she was able to stay in the crate for the length of time that would involve travel. When that was reached, there was still the problem of strange noises that could startle her so zookeepers needed to desensitize the rhino to sounds that she might hear along the way.

When all of that was done, Zuri flew first class--for a rhino--aboard a FedEx cargo plane with an entourage that included a veterinarian, a curator and the deputy director from the Oregon Zoo.

All things considered. I travel pretty light.

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