The surviving twenty-six zebras and antelopes, who were held for a week in a grounded aircraft at Rome's Fiumicino Airport, left on Wednesday (26 September) for Bahrain.
GV Aircraft on tarmac with tail section open (2 SHOTS)
GV Zebra in crate as workers stand round (2 SHOTS)
LV Truck with hay leaving aircraft
GV Aircraft flag closes at front, then back plane prepares to take off (4 SHOTS)
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Background: The surviving twenty-six zebras and antelopes, who were held for a week in a grounded aircraft at Rome's Fiumicino Airport, left on Wednesday (26 September) for Bahrain. They are destined for a new life in the ownership of the Emir of Bahrain. Even at the last moment, though, their departure had its hitches.
SYNOPSIS: A replacement plane arrived on Wednesday (26 September) to fly the animals to Bahrain. Its predecessor had developed an engine fault.
Meanwhile as the animals shuffled in their cages, airport workers refused to move them for fear of contamination.
Eventually, the airport doctor ??? the workers to shift the ??? onto the relief plane. He explained that any infection could only be transmitted by the animals and not by humans. And so the all-clear was given for loading the surviving twenty-six animals out of their cramped quarters and onto the new plane. Of the forty-nine zebras and antelopes flown out originally from South Africa, twenty-three died at Rome, waiting for health clearance. Their deaths provoked much international Press criticism of the animal export business.
The survivors were transferred by airport cargo workers onto the replacement plane. There were just eleven zebras and fifteen antelopes. Until Monday (24 September), they had been scheduled to return to South Africa. But at the last minute, the Emir of Bahrain, Sheikh Isa Bin Sulman Al Khalifa, offered to buy them, ending their week of uncertainty and confinement.