It may seem like a scene from the Hollywood box office to most travelers- but to myself and a handful of other wildlife spokespeople it is strange NOT to travel with animals on the plane! Even the airline and TSA personal get excited and often star struck by our furry, feathery, and sometimes scaly passengers on their flights! For the normal passenger flying with a kangaroo in the seat next to you is unheard of! But for me it is everyday life.
The most common questions:
1. Where are you going?
The usual answers are New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington D.C. and sometimes even Canada and Mexico.
2. What for?
These animals are ambassadors, representing wildlife worldwide. For example when we are heading to New York it is usually for the Today show, David Letterman, Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, the New York Times Travel Show, and many other venues and shows that provide a platform to educate people about wild things and wild places.
3. Why are they so calm?
As professional animal trainers and handlers we teach our animals one simple thing- to be comfortable with people and varieties of places. We are often asked if our animals are sedated- this question is as insulting to us as it would be to assume and ask an Olympian if he or she was on drugs in order to have done so well in the Olympic games. The answer is no- never. And nor should you drug your dog or cat for travel…it is dangerous and often life threatening to your pet.
4. Do you love your job?
Absolutely. Yes. I get to travel with animals that most people hope to catch a glimpse of from tour buses and excursions around the globe. These ambassador animals are my family, my friends, and my travel companions. Together we are on a mission to educate the world about wildlife! We promote Eco-tourism at events like the Boston Globe Travel Show. We teach school children to love and respect the animals they share our planet with at elementary schools. We inspire people to make a difference in this world by connecting to animals that they never imagined being able to meet in person. Inspiration creates change- whether that change is as small as recycling an aluminum can or as large as protecting vital habitat for endangered species- every change makes a difference!
So the next time you see Kangaroo Lanie, Conservation Ambassadors, and a kangaroo on a plane- it’s ok to take a picture! They are used to the cellular phone paparazzi! 😉