The following post was written by Pet Relocation Specialist Sarah Smith. Find out what she had to say about a recent (and pretty complicated) pet move to Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea is an island off the Northern coast of Australia. It is culturally diverse, and over 850 languages are spoken here. With most residents making less than $1.25 US per day, it’s hardly a place I thought I would be sending any expats and their pets, but this is exactly what happened!
Sophie, a Dachshund from Dallas, needed to be reunited with her mom in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. First we thought about going through Hawaii or Japan (as there are no direct flights from the US mainland). After some routing trials, I decided that going through Australia was the only safe option for little Sophie.
Sure, we could have gone through Japan for fewer costs, but the airline in question could not guarantee where Sophie would be kept during the 12-hour layover. If you’re anything like Sophie’s mom (or me!) this is unacceptable. We pride ourselves on knowing where your pet is every step of the way, and the uncertainty involved in this possibility simply wasn’t an option... So Australia it was!
Australia happens to be one of the most challenging countries to import animals into, and if we were going to transit through Australia, we were going to have to meet the majority of the rules. Luckily Sophie’s mom had already planned ahead and kept Sophie up to date on vaccinations, and she even had her blood drawn for the mandatory rabies antibody test so we were ahead of the game. A canine influenza vaccine would complete the process for import into Australia.
Papua New Guinea was a different story. We needed an import permit and a Hendra test upon arrival in Australia. Hendra is a disease not worried about elsewhere in the world, but is apparently prevalent in one small area in Australia. Therefore, any animal touching down in Australia would need to be tested for Hendra.
This is a lengthy process, so I had to arrange for Sophie to stay in quarantine upon arrival in Australia for two weeks while we got the test done and the results back. This process would take a week except for the following: animals have to arrive into Australia from the US on a Thursday or a Friday, the Hendra test is only carried out on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the results arrive on Tuesdays. So, Sophie arrived into Sydney on a Friday and had her blood tested on Tuesday. The results arrived the following Tuesday, but of course the only flights from Sydney to Papua New Guinea are on Mondays and Saturdays. But, Papua New Guinea requires animals to arrive on a Monday or Tuesday, so we couldn’t take the Saturday flight. Are you confused yet? Imagine how I felt!
So Sophie arrived that Friday, had her blood drawn on Tuesday, got the results back the following Tuesday, and couldn’t leave Australia until the following Monday. Luckily, Sydney’s Eastern Creek Quarantine facilities are top notch and were very communicative throughout the process, and Sophie’s mom was very understanding.
Did I mention calling Papua New Guinea or receiving a call is effective about 4% of the time, and they are exact opposites from us in terms of time? So phone call efforts were futile. All communication had to be done by email.
Sophie finally arrive in Port Moresby safely, cleared customs, and was taken to quarantine for two days. After quarantine was complete, my agent was able to deliver Sophie to her new home (Papua New Guinea doesn’t really have street addresses, so this also proved difficult). In all, Sophie was treated kindly, traveled safely, and is probably excited to not see an airplane for a while. After all, she was on four different planes to get to her mom.
A few things to keep in mind if you’re moving your pets to Papua New Guinea:
- Get help. You WON’T be able to do this on your own!
- Bear in mind the time differences and communication challenges.
- Save money! Papua New Guinea -- because of the routing -- is probably the most expensive place in the world I’ve moved a pet so far.
- Be patient: this process can take three weeks, just for the travel alone, not even including the preparation.
- Be flexible: some areas of the world are quite simple and streamlined, and others are not. I received several emails from the Chief Veterinary Officer of Papua New Guinea from a Gmail account. Some things are going to change when you least expect it so know that as the professionals, we’ll handle it!
- Trust PetRelocation.com because we know how to do it safely!