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Qatar Airways Cargo Rejoins Forces with Animal Defenders International to Transport Six Young Lions Home to Africa

Six young lions rescued from the illegal wildlife trade as a part of Qatar Airways Cargo WeQare initiative 

DOHA, Qatar – Qatar Airways Cargo has once again assisted Animal Defenders International, this time by transporting six young lions from the illegal wildlife trade to the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in Johannesburg.

Known as the “Kuwait 6”, the males Muheeb, Saham, Shujaa, Saif, and females Dhubiya and Aziza were cared for at Kuwait Zoo. Animal Defenders International (ADI) was contacted by Kuwait government officials to help the lions, so ADI offered them a home at their 455-acre sanctuary in South Africa.

Mark Drusch, Chief Officer Cargo at Qatar Airways Cargo said: “We are proud to once again be supporting ADI, this time in bringing these six beautiful lions home to Africa. Our WeQare Rewild the Planet initiative is our commitment to returning wildlife and endangered species back to their natural habitat, free of charge.

“It takes a lot of effort and logistics for our team to organise moving such large animals; from the logistics at the airports, loading and unloading the animals from the aircraft, to ensuring the correct cages and wellbeing of the animals are in place, but it is something we are all collectively very proud and passionate to be a part of.”

Jan Creamer, President, Animals Defenders International added: “The Kuwait 6 lions have their whole lives ahead of them and will have acres of space at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary. We are thankful to Qatar Airways Cargo and their WeQare program in once again supporting us by covering the cost of the air transport back to Africa. We are also very thankful to the ADI supporters who are helping to fund their care.”

Alzahra Aljanabi, Senior Translator, Animal Welfare Department, Public Authority of Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources in Kuwait: “We would like to thank the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary for their support and efforts in providing a better habitat for the six lions from Kuwait. We are also thankful for Qatar Airways Cargo for generously offering the air transport. People underestimate the risks of having wild animals as pets. They may be magnificent creatures but they are also predators. We need more awareness to combat wildlife trafficking”.

Qatar Airways Cargo continues to reaffirm its commitment to animal welfare. The cargo carrier recently opened its new state-of-the-art Animal Centre and relaunched its Live product, setting new benchmarks in the transport of live animals. As a leading transporter, with over 550,000 animals flown in 2023, the airline continues to advocate animal welfare globally, ensuring operations respect and contribute positively to animal well-being.

Qatar Airways Cargo’s WeQare sustainability programme consists of a series of focus chapters based on four core pillars: environment, society, economy, and culture and is a conscious endeavour to create a more positive impact on the industry and the world. Chapter 2 – Rewild the Planet encourages the preservation of ecological balance by offering free transport to organisations involved in returning wild animals to their natural habitat.

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About Qatar Airways Cargo

Qatar Airways Cargo, the world’s leading international air cargo carrier is based in Doha, State of Qatar. It serves a global network of more than 70 freighter destinations and 170 passenger destinations utilising freighters and belly-hold passenger aircraft. The airline’s freighter fleet includes 28 Boeing 777 freighters and 230 belly-hold planes. It also has an extensive road feeder service (RFS) network. The cargo airline is the launch customer for the innovative Boeing 777-8F featuring advanced technology, and a 25% improvement in fuel efficiency and emissions, with the first delivery arriving in 2027.

As a market leader, the cargo carrier provides high operating standards for the transportation of cargo, with considerable investments in digitalisation, products, facilities and services. Qatar Airways Cargo remains committed to sustainability and giving back to communities it serves through its sustainability programme WeQare, built on the key pillars of sustainability: environment, society, economy and culture.

With considerable investments in its products, services, quality handling, infrastructure, facilities, people and procedures at each of its destinations, the cargo carrier provides high operating standards for the transportation of cargo. Qatar Airways Cargo remains committed to sustainability and giving back to communities it serves through its sustainability programme WeQare, built on the key pillars of sustainability: environment, society, economy, and culture.

About Qatar Airways

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways won the ‘World’s Best Business Class’ for the tenth time at the 2023 World Airline Awards, managed by the international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax. The airline continues to be synonymous with excellence, also taking home, 'Best Airline in the Middle East', 'World's Best Business Class Lounge' and 'World's Best Business Class Lounge Dining' at the prestigious awards held during the 2023 Paris Air Show. Qatar Airways is an unprecedented seven-time winner of the 'World’s Best Airline' voted by Skytrax (2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2022). As leaders in industry innovation and digital adoption, Qatar Airways was recently voted the 'World’s Best Airline Website' by World Travel Tech Awards.

Qatar Airways was the first Airline in the Middle East to be certified to the highest level of IATA’s Environmental Assessment (IEnvA) programme, based on recognised environmental management system principles (such as ISO 14001). As an inaugural signatory to the Buckingham Palace Declaration in March 2016, Qatar Airways became the first airline globally to be certified to the industry standard for the prevention of illegal wildlife trafficking in aviation.

Qatar Airways currently flies to nearly 170 destinations worldwide, connecting through its Doha hub, Hamad International Airport, the ‘World’s Best Airport’, as voted by Skytrax in 2021, 2022, and 2024. In 2024, Hamad International Airport also received the ‘Best Airport in the Middle East’ accolade for 10 consecutive years, as well as ‘World’s Best Airport Shopping’ for the second year in a row.

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