The butterfly is not quite a butterfly yet when this journey is made, as he travels as cocoon. 5000 butterfly cocoons weigh around 40 kilograms and one could say they travel in their own personal transport boxes to Germany.
Once a month a load of about 1000 butterfly cocoons travel from Kula Lumpur, Malaysia. Thirty to forty different species are found in the animal transport boxes which land in Frankfurt after the long flight and are supplied from there to wholesalers, zoos and botanical gardens, like the popular botanical garden in Munich.
All new arrival species have one thing in common; they come from butterfly farms and are offspring from butterflies that occur in the wild. Thus not only stocks but also their future offspring are secured.
The G.K Airfreight team usually don’t get to see the colourful splendour waiting to unfold. Even during sampling at customs and by veterinary specialists the team only get to see the cocooned little travellers. Moritz Martin from G.K Airfreight, who is responsible for the routine shipment of the cocoons, explains how the future butterflies leave their farm on Fridays and how on Mondays the parcels are then distributed to their respective owners. “We have been working for several years now with the animal farms and that is why the animal disease controls work well. Thus determining the correct entry requirements for insects ensuring smooth customs clearance. Martin reiterates how everything is reliably and routinely run.
The Noctuidae for example can be found among the gems being transported, a species with a wingspan of about 30 centimetres.
Determining the species of a moth or butterfly is something like a scientific exercise. Thus numerous closely related species may be found travelling together; determining which is which, usually done by counting the veins on the wings, a job set aside for only the most passionate of experts.
In any case most visitors in botanical gardens and zoos are delighted by the colourful displays of the various different species. Too bad that the impressive diversity of the butterfly shipment mostly remain hidden to the eyes of the G.K. Airfreight team. Of all shipment types, one could say that these travelling insects have booked the easiest, most stress-free flight by far.