Honolulu, HI, February 23, 2022 – Pacific Air Cargo (PAC) has once again transported an exotic animal, this time from Honolulu to Los Angeles. On February 18, 2022, PAC flew an adult male Chimpanzee named Pu‘iwa aboard its Boeing 747-400F to Los Angeles (LAX) where he will make his new home at the Los Angeles Zoo. Pu‘iwa was born at the Honolulu Zoo in August 1999. PAC has been transporting animals since 2000 and while they mostly range from kittens and dogs to cows and horses, they most recently transported a hippo from Los Angeles to Honolulu as well as bringing two young giraffes to the islands back in 2020.
Honolulu zookeepers say that Pu‘iwa is fun to work with and is quick at learning new behaviors. At the Honolulu Zoo, operant conditioning and positive reinforcement are used for training the animals to do things, such as go in to a crate voluntarily, take hand-injections while awake (i.e. for vaccines), trade items, and present different body parts. Pu‘iwa is well trained for medical procedures. Some of his behaviors include, presenting his head, shoulders, bottoms of his feet for inspection and presenting his chest for an awake ultrasound. He is also is good at taking medications.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) recommended that Pu‘iwa be sent to the Los Angeles Zoo for breeding to help sustain the population of chimpanzees in zoos, to be ambassadors for their species, and to teach about conservation and the plight of their wild counterparts.
“We are so pleased to be doing our small part to support the wellbeing of the world’s chimpanzee population,” stated Tanja Janfruechte, Pacific Air Cargo CEO. “We wish Pu‘iwa well as he settles into his new environment at the Los Angeles Zoo.”
Chimpanzees are listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They have noted that chimpanzee populations have fallen significantly since the 1980s. Chimpanzees share 98.7 percent of DNA with humans. They live in large communities and practice a fission-fusion like society where individuals will emigrate out between sub-groupings or neighborhoods. Males form strong bonds that are called coalitions which helps structure their social hierarchy.
“While Honolulu families may miss visiting Pu‘iwa,” said Paul Skellon, Pacific Air Cargo Director of Marketing, “we are confident that he’ll do well in his new family community, and we look forward to one day welcoming one of his offspring back to the islands.”