TURTLE SUCCESSFULLY RETURNS HOME
It was the first passenger to get on board of the A330 airplane from TAP to Miami, named Infante D. Henrique, for the return to his country of origin, awaited for over two years.
The young turtle living in Portugal, taken care by the Zoomarine since 2009, crossed the Atlantic Ocean and the icy waters of the North Sea to Holland, where it was recovered.
This Tuesday, November 29, finally arrived at its destination in Miami, Florida.
The returning of the turtle-Kemp to the Gulf of Mexico, where its distribution is almost exclusive, was a vital necessity for the preservation of the species, since 95 percent are born on the beach of a single region, and, thus, the rarest and therefore, the most endangered sea turtle in the world.
The trip was planned and was only possible due to the work of two teams, TAP Cargo and the Maintenance and Engineering of TAP PORTUGAL, who adapted the cockpit of the A330 to the presence of a so rare passenger.
"It was a work done by the Maintenance and Engineering. It consisted of removing the last row of seats at the rear of the plane, and set a system to handle the box where the turtle traveled. It was fix on the ground, through a set of straps, so the movement of the plane had no impact on the box." explains José Anjos, VP of TAP Cargo & Mail, an area of the company that has accumulated a vast experience in the transport of live animals within the species preservation context.
These specific changes in the structure of the cabin, required a special certification of the aircraft, to ensure complete safety of "Johnny Vasco," as it was affectionately named.
With a journey worthy of a book of adventure, the return of Johnny could not have been less exciting.
On board, the special guest was introduced to passengers by TAP crew members. "Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen's. Aboard this TAP flight follows a passenger, Johnny Vasco. It is a rare species named turtle-Kemp, therefore, most threatened of the world. Today with TAP, Johnny is not going now flying with us back home, "said José Moura, the Supervisor of the flight cabin. The curiosity to know Johnny personally did not take long.
Over the nearly nine-hour flight, all difficulties were circumvented and secured all the necessary conditions for the well-being of this passenger with 31 kg and about 1.20mts. In addition to an element of TAP Cargo and the rehabilitation technicians of Zoomarine, Johnny had all the support from the crew.
In Miami, Johnny Vasco was delivered by the technicians of Zoomarine to the U.S. Authorities. After a quick rest at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach, he was transported to Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota where it will be in quarantine until the final return to the sea, off the southwest coast of Florida, an area identified as natural habitat of sea turtle-Kemp, between the time of Christmas and New Year.
It is a pride that TAP was responsible for the homecoming of Johnny Vasco and gave an important contribution to the preservation of endangered species.
In order to follow Johnny's strokes click here:
Lisbon, 29 November 2011