Black rhinos took to the air in 2013 as part of the World Wildlife Fund’s Black Rhino Expansion Project (Photograph: Martin Harvey)
Rhinos Are Being Airlifted To Australia To Avoid Incessant Poaching
Despite numerous attempts by conservationists and squadrons of anti-poaching rangers to curb illegal wildlife trading in South Africa, the numbers of rhinoceroses killed each year is at an all-time high.
In an effort to save rhinos from relentless poaching and eventual extinction Ray Dearlove is proposing a radical new plan to transport them to the land down under.
The South African-born wildlife expert is the founder of the Australian Rhino Project, an organisation aiming to ensure the survival of the species by taking any measures necessary.
It plans to airlift 80 African rhinos (20 per year for the next four years) over 6,800 miles to the Monarto Zoo safari park in Adelaide, Australia as an insurance population to ensure their survival.
Rhino numbers are decreasing at an alarming rate in South Africa, where approximately 85-90% of the white and black southern rhinos are left in the world, Dearlove explains.
“There is no safe place in Africa for rhinos today”
More than 5,000 rhinos have been poached and killed in South Africa since 2010 and recent poaching numbers show the kill rate of rhinos has now exceeded the birth rate for the first time ever.
In 2007, 13 rhinos were killed. In 2013 that number rose sharply to 1,004; 1,200 in 2014 and in 2015 high horn prices pushed the number of poached rhinos up to around 1,500 animals.
At this rate rhinos will be extinct within the next ten years, the organisation explains.
The horns of white and black rhinos are prized as traditional medicines in China and Vietnam, and the price of a single horn can fetch up to $80,000 (£55,000) per kilogram.
This isn't the first rhino airlift, though. Last year Rhinos Without Borders started moving 100 animals, and in 2013 the Wold Wildlife Fund moved rhinos as part of their Black Rhino Range Expansion Project.
By Matthew Kirby, published on 05/04/2016