Flying rhinos aren’t something you see everyday–not even in South Africa, where 19 of these endangered rhinos have recently been moved from the Eastern Cape to a conservation location in the province of Limpopo. Still relatively new, an airlift capture technique was used to transport black rhinos out of inaccessible or difficult locations. Suspending a sleeping rhino by the ankles through the air and to waiting vehicles is undoubtedly a difficult task, but conservation managers, wildlife veterinarians, capture teams from WWF, SANParks, Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife all worked in cooperation with each other to ensure the success of this translocation mission.
All in all, these rhinos were moved 932 miles across the country. With an average commute of just 10 minutes or so by helicopter, one of the advantages of flying the black rhinos in this specific manner is that they don’t need to be drugged for an extended period of time. The WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project has created seven significant black rhino populations over the last eight years–nearly 120 black rhinos have been translocated due to these admirable efforts.