Moving endangered species: Kiara the cheetah lands safely in London

Last month, IAG Cargo had the privilege of transporting six month-old cheetah Kiara J from her home at Lory Park Zoo in Johannesburg to an organisation in Cornwall.

The aim of the move was to facilitate a conservation breeding programme, a common practice for many zoos around the world, and all went smoothly as Kiara was loaded onto flight BA54 for the 11-hour journey to London.

Listed as one of the world’s most endangered species by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an enforcement team from Lory Park’s nature conservation authorities came out to check Kiara was healthy to fly 24 hours before the flight. Now in Cornwall, she will be paired with a mate that has been carefully selected to help grow the cheetah population and prevent inbreeding.

Cheetahs are some of the most endangered big cats on Earth – today, their habitat is only 11 per cent of its former size. Around 6,674 cheetahs live in the wild, with just five per cent of cubs surviving to adulthood.

As recently as the 1970s, European settlers in Africa saw cheetahs as vermin and sought to eradicate them. While they were once found in a range of environments from dense forests to the Saharan desert, their survival and habitat is constantly under threat as settlements expand. In parts of Africa, they continue to be hunted for the pet trade and for their skin.

With more than 60 years’ experience carrying wildlife, IAG Cargo has a trained team dedicated to handling and shipping animals, and is trusted by some of the world’s most prestigious zoos and animal charities. We’re incredibly proud to be involved in transporting these endangered species, ensuring their safe delivery to the zoos that do so much to protect our wildlife. For more information, see our Live Animals product.


  • Cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animal, reaching speeds of 96 kmph in three seconds
  • They usually weigh between 50 and 64 kg.
  • In the wild, antelopes are their main source of prey
  • Gestation period is around three months
  • When hunting, the chase is usually over in less than a minute