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Snakes on a plane? Deutsche Bank’s staff exodus from Russia runs into unexpected animal difficulties

June 7, 2022, 10:30 AM UTC

Deutsche Bank has been confronted with unexpected furry (and scaly) obstacles in its ongoing effort to relocate workers out of Russia.

The German lender has moved hundreds of software developers and their families from Russia to Berlin over the past three months, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, Deutsche Bank offered all its staff in the country the opportunity to transfer to Germany, according to the FT.

Around half of its Russian workforce—who mainly develop and maintain software for the investment banking division—are reported to have accepted the relocation offer, with the majority of those who took up the offer having already moved.

Including the families of employees, the FT said Deutsche Bank is moving around 2,000 people from Russia to Germany.

And a bunch of animals.

‘It starts from hamsters and it stops at snakes’

One Deutsche Bank official involved in the relocation process told the FT that the pandemic meant many employees had not renewed their passports—and further difficulties were added by the sheer number of pets workers wanted to take with them to Germany.

“We certainly learnt more about our colleagues’ pets than we ever wanted to know,” an insider at the bank told the FT on Monday.

“It starts from hamsters and it stops at snakes. And no, you can’t take a snake on the plane.”

The source did not elaborate on if or how the company managed to overcome the complexities that surfaced when employees wanted to relocate their pets.

A spokesperson for Deutsche Bank was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Fortune.

The market for relocating and traveling with pets appears to have gained interest globally throughout the pandemic.

According to the Wall Street Journal, several travel companies are responding to the trend, which has seen more and more people traveling with their pets after bonding with them at home during COVID lockdowns.

Meanwhile, a Hong Kong–based private aviation company that pivoted to offer pet flights during the COVID crisis told CNN its pet relocation business has grown 700% since the beginning of the pandemic.

In October, a chartered flight is scheduled to transport up to 40 pets—alongside human passengers—from London to Australia, in a bid to reunite owners with their four-legged companions that were stranded abroad when the pandemic took hold.

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