Rhinos Airlifted to New Home

Published July 22, 2015


Weighing up to two and a half tons each, rhinos aren't easy to herd—let alone load onto an airplane and fly hundreds of miles. But in an effort to protect the endangered animals, that’s exactly what conservationists are doing.


As the first members of history's largest rhino airlift project, ten rhinos were recently relocated from an overpopulated park in South Africa to a reserve in the neighboring country of Botswana. The new reserve is better protected from poachers, which often kill rhinos for their horns and sell them for money. And with better protection, the rhino population is more likely to grow.

The ultimate goal of the relocation project, called Rhinos Without Borders, is to move a hundred rhinos by next year—and National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert have been helping out with the massive project.


On the day of the big move, the Jouberts and their team secured the rhinos in crates and loaded them onto a cargo plane, which flew the animals to Botswana's Maun International Airport.


After landing, the crates containing the rhinos were placed on trucks. Then the animals were escorted by dozens of soldiers to northern Botswana's Okavango Delta. Along the way, the group had to cross several rivers, and at one point a wheel fell off one of the trucks. To continue on, the rhinos onboard the disabled vehicle had to be moved by a crane to another truck.


Less than 24 hours from the start of their trip, the rhinos were finally released into their new home. The team has plans to relocate more rhinos soon—and with such a difficult journey to make, it's a good thing these animals have a tough skin!



Text from "First Rhinos in Massive African Airlift Released in Botswana" by Brian Clark Howard, NGS Staff


Adapted by Rose Davidson, NGS Staff


By Brian Clark Howard, National Geographic News


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