1. ITV Report

Rhino hitches a helicopter ride

Rhino ride Photo: WWF

It looks like an extreme length to go to, but transporting this 2,000kg black rhino by helicopter may be the only way to keep it alive.

The wildlife charity WWF has performed more than a hundred 'rhino airlifts' to evacuate the endangered animals from areas where poachers operate.

The rhinos are sedated before being airlifted for fifteen minutes over rough terrain. But this is just the beginning of their 1,000-mile journey by truck to a secret location in Limpopo province, South Africa.

The use of a helicopter is a relatively new technique. WWF’s project leader Dr Jacques Flamand explains its advantages:

Previously rhinos were either transported by lorry over very difficult tracks, or airlifted in a net. This new procedure is gentler on the darted rhino because it shortens the time it has to be kept asleep with drugs, the respiration is not as compromised as it can be in a net and it avoids the need for travel in a crate over terrible tracks.

Close to 120 black rhino have been translocated as part of the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project, which has created seven significant black rhino populations in eight years, according to WWF.