Tags: rhinos | airlifted | south africa | botswana

Rhinos Airlifted: 100 Endangered Animals to Be Moved From SAfrica

By    |   Thursday, 14 Aug 2014 07:12 AM

A group of 100 rhinos will soon be airlifted from South Africa to Botswana in an effort to save them from an onslaught of poachers who are contributing to the near-extinction of the endangered species.

Filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, who have spent their time creating documentaries in Africa, recently launched a conservation organization called Rhinos Without Borders to address the dwindling number of rhinos in South Africa. The country is home to about 80 percent of the roughly 26,000 rhinos left in Africa, most of them in Kruger National Park, according to National Geographic.

According to statistics from the South African environmental affairs department, rhino poaching has reached dramatic new levels, increasing from 448 rhinos slaughtered in 2011 to 1,004 rhinos killed in 2013.

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The heavy demand for rhino horns in Asia has made poaching a profitable business, according to the International Business Times. With horns netting $65,000 per kilogram — or almost $30,000 per pound — on the black market, they're more valuable than the street price of drugs like cocaine.

"People just hang their head and say, 'What a disaster!' The poaching levels are so high — last year South Africa lost 1,004 rhinos," the Jouberts told National Geographic earlier this month. "Ten years ago we lost four rhinos. The 1,004 from last year, by the way, are the ones that we know of."

"But what happens in remote areas — even in Kruger — is that rhinos have been poached but aren't always found. The carcasses are possibly eaten by vultures before anyone gets there. So I think we can add at least 10 percent to that number," the couple said.

With Kruger being home to so many rhinos, poachers have seen the national park as sort of a one-stop shop for rhino horns, the Jouberts told National Geographic. They said dispersing some of the population to areas that have harsher anti-poaching measures will give the animals a better chance at survival.

"Botswana wants rhinos and Botswana has the lowest poaching rate in all of Africa," the duo said. "It's as much a story of moving a hundred rhinos as it is about spreading the risk. One of the worst things we can do is continue to keep the entire pool of assets in one place. This relocation project will be making it harder for poachers to come in and hit a hundred rhinos."

The rhino airlift is scheduled for sometime next year.

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A group of 100 rhinos will soon be airlifted from South Africa to Botswana in an effort to save them from an onslaught of poachers who are contributing to the near-extinction of the endangered species.
rhinos, airlifted, south africa, botswana
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2014-12-14
Thursday, 14 Aug 2014 07:12 AM
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