Entrepreneur Creates Unique Service: Moving Zoo Animals

moving zoo animals

The next time you’re driving down the highway, you could be right next to a rhino and not even realize it. Entrepreneurs like Chris Danhauer make a living transporting zoo animals to other locations for breeding, conservation, or educational purposes.

It’s an unconventional business, to be sure. But someone has to be responsible for moving giraffes and gorillas.

Before starting his business, Planned Migration, Danhaur was a zookeeper. He said it was that experience that allowed him to build up trust and a good name with the zoos that use his services. He told CNN:

“If I wouldn’t have had the skills and qualification, there would have been no way [zoos] would have touched me.”

He is the founder and sole-employee of the Texas-based company. He takes a lot of care when loading and unloading the animals and he supervises the animals during each trip. One of the benefits of transporting animals by road.

Zoos don’t just use companies like Planned Migration to transport animals. Some utilize air travel, commercial flights, and even priority mail. The size and temperament of each animal helps determine how they should travel.

Road travel is certainly a popular option though. Planned Migration moves more than 200 animals per year. Most of those moves occurring during the spring and fall.

Danhaur’s trips usually take less than 24 hours total. Price varies by distance and type of animal. Moving a small antelope a short distance could cost as little as $500. But moving an elephant hundreds of miles could cost up to $12,000.

Aside from loading and unloading the animals, driving and supervising, Danhauer said that planning each trip is key. Some animals require extra training before being transported. Other times, Danhauer just has to coordinate with other institutions to ensure a smooth trip.

Ideally, you shouldn’t even be able to tell when you’re driving next to a zoo animal. Though some of them are a little difficult to hide. So next time you see a large crate being pulled by a truck on the freeway, take a closer look. It could be Danhauer or another entrepreneur transporting some of your favorite zoo animals.

Image: CNN


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

6 Reactions
  1. That’s a unique type of service. I guess it’s uniqueness is the reason why the service is more in demand as it is a service that could not be found elsewhere. Also, the expertise of the owner makes them more qualified to do the transport. This goes to show that experience in a job can be beneficial to a business if you ever plan to run one in the future.

    • It seems his experience with animals definitely helped him get where he is today. If I ran a zoo I don’t think I’d trust just anyone to transport exotic animals from place to place!

  2. Empty The Zoos Worldwide

    It is good to see someone that cares …but lets not forget that this is for profit more than for breeding, conservation, or educational purposes.

    • It’s definitely a for-profit venture. I don’t think that he is very involved in deciding where and why they get transported, but just takes them where they need to go based on zoo instructions/reasoning.

  3. After being an entrepreneur and now working with lots of them, I never cease to be amazed at their resourcefulness in finding niches and filling them. This is just but one of thousands. Love your article. Keep them coming.

    • Thank you! Yes it is definitely amazing how many different niches are out there. I never would have thought of this one!