The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has provided its own Pelican crossing, assisting a zoo breeding programme.

On Tuesday, Ben-my-Chree welcomed on board an unusual passenger, a Great White Pelican from the Curraghs Wildlife Park, which was heading for its new home in Blackpool Zoo. In a few days, one of Blackpool’s Pelicans will make the return trip to become a resident in Ballaugh.

Wildlife Park General Manager Kathleen Graham said: “We currently have four Pelicans, three female and one male, and we are swapping one of our females for a male with Blackpool Zoo, as they currently have three males and only one female. The intention is to increase the chances of breeding Pelicans as part of a co-operation between European Zoos.”

“BIAZA and EAZA member zoos co-operate in organised breeding programmes as it is very important zoo animals are moved around to keep populations genetically healthy. I’d like to thank the Steam Packet Company for helping us organise the transport of these special passengers, which helps assist with this vital breeding programme.”

It’s not just the Park’s animals which make use of the Steam Packet Company for important zoo business. While travelling between the UK and the Island for the Pelican swap, Kathleen will also take the opportunity to attend a vital conference.

She said: “I will be attending the annual European Association of Zoos and Aquaria conference in Edinburgh, the biggest and most important zoo meeting of the year.”

“It is vital that our Wildlife Park is present at the biggest European meeting, which is all about contributing to the bigger global conservation efforts.”

Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: “Although it’s not every day we carry a Pelican, we provide transport for all kinds of passengers and freight and are happy to discuss the special requirements our customers may have.”

“The Steam Packet Company is always pleased to assist the Wildlife Park with its animal movements, most recently earlier this year when we brought an African crested porcupine to the Island. We understand how important the breeding programme is to the health of the animals, and very aware of the specialist requirements of transporting such animals. We’re also pleased we have been able to assist Kathleen in attending such an important conference after direct flights to Scotland were discontinued.”

Great White Pelicans

Photo: The Curraghs Wildlife Park Great White Pelican is heading to Blackpool Zoo with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.