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Back in the States

By Kim Lengel, Vice President of Conservation and Education

It’s 6:30 a.m. New York time and we’re here.  After picking up my car from long-term parking, Tim and I headed to the South African Airways cargo area where we met our U.S. broker,  the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officer, and Scott Hughes from the Zoo. Scott is our internal expert on navigating the cargo areas of the regional airports.  He typically is the one who drops off and picks up animals from shipments and he knows his stuff.   One last production of permits for the USFWS officer and we were cleared to leave.  The bats all looked great so while Scott had brought food and even veterinary supplies should Tim need to administer fluids, there was no need. There was still some food in the crates and the bats were alert and active.   The spiders looked pretty good too although at least two of them had not survived the trip..
 
Our job now was to get back to the Zoo as quickly as possible.  We had to fight some New York rush hour traffic but once we cleared the City, we made good time on the NJ Turnpike and were back at the Zoo within 2.5 hours.  Once there we had lots of people waiting to help us get the animals unpacked and moved into their new homes.  As we removed the bats from their crates, we weighed each one so we could assess if they had lost weight on the journey.  Most had lost a small but insignificant amount of weight  and all of the bats were alert and robust.  They immediately started to settle into their new home in our veterinary hospital where they will live for the next six months of their quarantine period. 
 
Four spiders out of 72 had not survived the trip and we immediately set about releasing the others into several other rooms in the vet hospital.  The best strategy with these spiders is to give them room to spin their webs as quickly as possible. We also immediately began releasing food items into the rooms, and in some cases, placing them directly in the webs so that the spiders would feed.  Hand-feeding 65+ spiders is a time-intensive process but they should create their own webs quickly and begin to self-feed. 
 
Now I was focused on getting home to see my family. I’d been away for a week and a half and I was really looking forward to reconnecting.   While I was off having an adventure, my husband was home keeping everything going for our two young kids.  I was really excited to see Rodrigues and Mauritius but even more excited to see Dave, Devon, and Nathan again.  

Back in the States

By Kim Lengel, Vice President of Conservation and Education

It’s 6:30 a.m. New York time and we’re here.  After picking up my car from long-term parking, Tim and I headed to the South African Airways cargo area where we met yet another of our brokers,  the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officer, and Scott Hughes from the Zoo. Scott is our internal expert on navigating the cargo areas of the local airports.  He typically is the one who drops off and picks up animals from shipments and he knows his stuff.   One last production of permits for the USFWS officer and we were cleared to leave.  The bats all looked great so while Scott had brought food and even veterinary supplies should Tim need to administer fluids, there was no need. There was still some food in the crates and the bats were alert and active.   The spiders looked pretty good too although at least two of them had died enroute.
 
Our job now was to get back to the Zoo as quickly as possible.  We had to fight some New York rush hour traffic but once we cleared the city, we made good time on the NJ Turnpike and were back at the Zoo within 2.5 hours.  Once there we had lots of people waiting to help us get the animals settled in their new homes.  As we removed the bats from their crates, we weighed each one so we could assess if they had lost weight on the journey.  Most had, but not significant amounts and all of the bats were alert and robust.  They immediately started to settle into their new home in our veterinary hospital where they will live for the next six months of their quarantine period. 
 
We had lost only 4 spiders on the transit and we immediately set about releasing the others into several other rooms in the vet hospital.  The best strategy with these spiders is to give them room to spin their webs as quickly as possible. We also immediately began releasing food items into the rooms, and in some cases, placing them directly in the webs so that the spiders would feed.  Hand-feeding 65 spiders is a time-intensive process but they should create their own webs quickly and begin to self-feed. 
 
Now I was focused on getting home to see my family. I’d been away for a week and a half and I was really looking forward to reconnecting.   While I was off having an adventure, my husband was home keeping everything going for our two young kids.  I was really excited to see Rodrigues and Mauritius but even more excited to see Dave, Devon, and Nathan again.