Airlift to a new home
A critically endangered black rhino is airlifted by helicopter over rough terrain to a land vehicle as part of the WWF's Black Rhino Range Expansion Project in South Africa. The helicopter trip lasts less than 10 minutes and removes the rhino from difficult and dangerous terrain before being transported by a land vehicle to a new home. The sleeping animals suffer no ill effect from the operation, according to the WWF. (Photo: Green Renaissance/WWF)
An unconventional move
A black rhino is silhouetted in the sky as it is transported using a relatively new capture technique that entails suspending the sleeping rhino by the ankles for a short trip through the air. The animals are being transported to reduce pressure on existing reserves and to curb poaching. The mission is to provide new territory so the animals can rapidly increase their numbers. Black rhino need larger blocks of land than white rhino because they are not social and tend to space themselves out more. Depending on the type of habitat, a population of 50 black rhino would need anywhere between 200 to 1,000 square kilometers of land.
"Previously rhinos were either transported by lorry over very difficult tracks, or airlifted in a net," explained WWF's project leader, Dr. Jacques Flamand. "This new procedure is gentler on the darted rhino because it shortens the time it has to be kept asleep with drugs, the respiration is not as compromised as it can be in a net and it avoids the need for travel in a crate over terrible tracks." (Photo: Green Renaissance/WWF)
A new home for an endangered species
Flamand strokes the back of the rhino after administering the antidote to wake up the animal, which has just been released at a new home after an epic 1,500-kilometer journey through the air and on land. About 120 black rhino have been relocated since the conservation effort began. (Photo: Green Renaissance/WWF)
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Big Snapshot: Rhinos in the sky
A critically endangered black rhino is airlifted by helicopter over rough terrain to a land vehicle as part of the WWF's Black Rhino Range Expansion Project.