It may well sound like a line from the ‘Do elephants fly in jumbo jets’ book of jokes, but no. It’s a serious story about the conservation group’s anti-poaching project where they are battling to save the rhinos from destruction in South Africa.
Thanks to Les Carlisle, Project Manager with Rhinos Without Borders, and under his expert supervision, 12 of these endangered species have left their native South Africa by air to start a new life in an undisclosed haven.
Just imagine the logistics of transporting these magnificent beasts from KwaZulu-Natal, a province on South Africa’s east coast, by truck, plane and helicopter to their new home.
The animals had to be immobilised, carefully placed in specially designed steel creates, treated with the utmost respect and with constant medical care during the loading process that included blindfolds and even ear plugs to ensure their comfort.
After a long flight, like all travellers, the conservation team had to clear customs with their VIP cargo – all before an unexpected helicopter lift was needed due to high water levels at the rhino’s new habitat.
This story has captured the imagination of students and staff at Greene’s Tutorial Colleges in Oxford and Lisbon where Greene’s have sponsored the White Rhino (Edward) at Lisbon Zoo, helping highlight the plight of the rapid decline of rhinoceros populations in Africa as one of today’s greatest wildlife tragedies.