British Columbia

WestJet finds pet gecko lost for 3 days in cargo

A pet gecko that went missing three days ago on a WestJet flight from Ottawa to Vancouver has been found and reunited with its owner.

Pet owner says her gecko should have been allowed to travel in plane's cabin

Nom Chompsky, a gargoyle gecko, went missing on a WestJet flight from Ottawa to Vancouver. (David Horemans/CBC)

A pet gecko that went missing three days ago on a WestJet flight from Ottawa to Vancouver has been found and reunited with its owner. 

UBC linguistics student Meryl Bishop went out to a cargo warehouse in Richmond, B.C., to pick up her gecko on Wednesday afternoon. 

"It's so great. There's no words, honestly. It's incredible. I'm so happy that she's here. She's back; she's a little skinny, but she's still the stubborn little sweetheart that I know," Bishop said. 

The gecko, named Nom Chompsky in a nod to American linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky, was clinging tightly to Bishop's hand as she held her, but otherwise appeared to be in good condition. 

The 11-centimetre lizard survived with no food and little water since she was placed in the cargo hold of a plane. All Nom had was a damp paper towel placed in her carrier to keep her cool and create some humidity.

Bishop said Nom was found in the baggage department, but that WestJet hadn't given her a full explanation for the gecko's disappearance.

A WestJet spokesperson said the company will follow up with Bishop in the next few days to ensure Nom is all right.
UBC student Meryl Bishop was delighted to be reunited with her pet gecko. (David Horemans/CBC)

"In the days ahead, we will review our procedures in an effort to determine what happened and make changes if needed to prevent future, similar occurrences," the company said in a written statement.

When Bishop went to board her flight a few days ago, she had been told that WestJet's policy only allows cats, dogs, birds and rabbits to travel with the passengers, which is why Nom had to make the long trip alone in the cargo hold.

Bishop said she wants WestJet to change its policies requiring some animals to be transported in the lower hold of a plane.

She said the incident could have been avoided if WestJet had been more flexible and allowed Nom to travel in the cabin.

"Something needs to change, so no one else has to go through the heartbreak I've been going through," she wrote.

With files from The Canadian Press