Over the grassy plains of South Africa, folks spend time airlifting rhinoceroses.
Far from being a viral gag, this is part of WWF’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project to translocate a group of 19 endangered black rhinos out of Eastern Cape province, moving them 1,500 kms north to Limpopo province to put the rhinos out of range of poachers.
“It was under heavy anesthetic so the animal didn’t sway while in the air,” Michael Raimondo, the photographer who filmed the video, told Metro.
- New method of transport: Blindfolded beasts weighing between 800 and 1,400 kilograms are lifted by ankles with straps connected to helicopter; flight duration: 10 minutes.
- Endangered species: Fewer than 2,000 black rhinos in South Africa and fewer than 5,000 on African continent.
- Moving to a bigger pad: Black rhinos need larger areas of land to roam than white rhinos because they are not social and space themselves out more. Depending on the kind of habitat, a group of 50 black rhinos might need between 200 to 1,000 sq. kms. of land.
- “Profitable” business: One rhino sold on the black market for $50,000. Rhino horns are in high demand as an ingredient in South Asian traditional medicine.