Rhinos on the Wing
The black rhino is a highly endangered species that is being slowly and successfully rehabilitated in southern Africa after years of unchecked poaching. The Palmwag region of Namibia is home to the largest black rhino population in the world and, after scientific assessment, it was determined that this group could support a small relocation.
The translocation project was planned in conjunction with local community and conservation organizations to relocate fifteen rhinos from the area around Desert Rhino Camp further northwest to the area of Okwongwe. The fact that the areas are not accessible by vehicle presented a nearly insurmountable challenge, but thanks to the generosity of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) and the African mantra of "we'll make a plan" the mission proceeded. The airborne capture operation consisting of a fixed wing aircraft, two helicopters - one for darting and one for lifting - logistic support vehicles, transport trucks, refueling bowsers, six donkeys and a crew of support staff and scientists, went off without a hitch.
The newly relocated rhinos are settling into their environment and will be monitored for several years. It is hoped that this effort will inspire others which, over time, will extend the home-range for an animal that was until recently destined for extinction.
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