The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company welcomed some unusual passengers on board Ben-my-Chree as part of its support for the Curraghs Wildlife Park.

Between March 17th and 19th, the vessel carried a Roul-roul Partridge, two Ring-tailed Lemurs, a Kookaburra and two Dik-diks.

The Steam Packet Company is assisting with the transport of the animals, some of which are being moved as part of breeding programme agreements between the Island’s Wildlife Park and zoos in the UK and Europe. These are necessary to keep populations genetically healthy.

Curraghs Wildlife Park General Manager Kathleen Graham said: ‘We transported a male Roul-roul Partridge to Lakeland Wildlife Oasis so he can breed with their females, and picked up two female Ring-tailed Lemurs to join our males and hopefully breed. We also picked up a male Kookaburra from Marwell Wildlife Park and then met up with Ekipa, the European zoo removal firm, at Blackpool Zoo to collect two male Dik-diks that had travelled from the Netherlands.

‘Dik-diks are a tiny African antelope and are a new species for us.’

She added: ‘It is very important that animals are moved between zoos to ensure healthy breeding and, on occasion, it is necessary for us to assist other parks and zoos by taking on animals as part of their management. We hope visitors to the Wildlife Park will enjoy seeing our new Ring-tailed Lemurs, Kookaburra and the Dik-diks.

‘I’d like to thank the Steam Packet Company for their ongoing support, which helps us to complete these vital animal transfers.’

Steam Packet Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We have been very pleased to support the Curraghs Wildlife Park and assist with animal transfers, which last year included an African Crested Porcupine and a Great White Pelican, and were delighted to welcome our latest guests on board.

‘Although animals like these are a little unusual on our vessels, we are experienced and prepared to provide transport for all kinds of passengers and freight and are always happy to discuss any special requirements our customers may have.’