Lions and Tigers and Bears Can Fly
Meet the FedEx Team You Didn’t Know Existed
How do you ship sea lions? Or a polar bear? Or a two-headed pig?
It starts with Dan Englund and Carolyn Frisch.
Dan and Carolyn manage the FedEx Live Animal Desk. Every week they review shipping requests from zoos, animal rescue organizations and other groups.
The pair has more than 60 years of experience between the two of them. Find out how they make live animal shipments possible through the FedEx network.
Q: What does FedEx consider when shipping live animals?
Carolyn: We look at every animal shipping request on a case-by-case basis. Per FedEx policy, we don’t ship pets or take requests from individuals. Much of our focus goes to rescued animals or those being moved from one zoo to another for breeding or educational purposes. We only accept shipments from zoos and aquariums that are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Q: What goes into arranging an animal move?
Dan: Safety is our top priority. We require two attendants to fly on our aircraft with the animal. One of the attendants is usually a veterinarian. We entrust them as the expert to care for the animal during transit.
We load the animals in the front of the cargo hold so the attendants have easy access to them during the flight. If there is any issue, they are able to address it immediately.
Q: Are there other requirements that must be met?
Carolyn: We require the zoo or rescue organization to send photos of the shipping crates in advance of the flight. The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) has extensive regulations that must be adhered to when shipping live animals to ensure the safety and security of the animal, the attendants, the crew and the aircraft.
Some of our flights make connections at the FedEx World Hub in Memphis. We have a temperature-controlled warehouse where the animals are kept during the layover to keep them calm and comfortable.
Q: How long have you managed the FedEx Live Animal Desk?
Carolyn: I’ve been doing this for 30 years! It started out as a customer service role but became a specialized desk because of the work involved and the time spent trying to coordinate these unique shipments.
We face new challenges all the time. That’s what’s kept me in the position for so long. There is always some obstacle to overcome, and we always find a way to make it possible. It takes a major effort by all of our team members to make sure these animals are well cared for. We get nothing but compliments from our shippers. They talk about how wonderful our crews are and how they go above and beyond to accommodate the animals and the animal attendants.
Q: Do any particular moves stand out to you during your time in this position?
Dan: A few years ago we donated our services to ship an otter that had been abandoned at a gas station in Florida. The rescue organization that took him in named him Oliver. When they determined he would not be able to survive in the wild, they made arrangements to move him to a forever home at an aquarium in Denver. The flight we had scheduled was delayed due to a blizzard, and Oliver ended up spending the night in Memphis. He received star treatment at the FedEx World Hub. We provided a pool and a shrimp and salmon dinner courtesy of a local restaurant. We even put him and his handlers up in a hotel. He completed his journey the next day.
Q: Of all the animals FedEx has shipped, what’s your favorite?
Carolyn: We’ve literally moved lions, tigers and bears. We even shipped a two-headed pig. It couldn’t feed itself, so we delivered it to a rescue group that helped rehabilitate it. I love it when people go out of their way to help animals who need special care. That’s why we do what we do.
Q: What do you love most about co-managing the FedEx Live Animal Desk?
Dan: Working on the Live Animal Desk is the most challenging and rewarding job I’ve had at FedEx. There is never a dull moment. I have learned so much about the safe movement of animals and how to work with other departments at FedEx to make it possible. Our reward comes when we receive photos of the rescue animals in their new forever homes.
Q: We recently donated our services to ship two rescued sea lions from Southern California to their new forever home at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. The zoo named one of the sea lions Carolyn in your honor. How does that make you feel?
Carolyn: I’ve gone to the Brookfield Zoo as a child, have visited with my own children and now I have a namesake there! In my 30 years of shipping animals, I’ve never been so honored. There could be no greater acknowledgement of the long-standing relationship I’ve had with the Brookfield Zoo.