A Race Against Time
The photo here is not one you see every day: one of two rhinos being airlifted over the Okavango delta, hanging upside down, feet tied, under a Black Hawk US Airforce helicopter. This snapshot demonstrates the difference between standing by and taking action towards conservation, protecting these rhinos that are so near extinction.
The rhinos were reintroduced to the Okavango after they wandered off during a low flood to escape drought and fires. Not long after they had settled into their home, another flood arrived and they were cut off, isolated from the rest of the area with a limited amount of grass to feed them. Whether or not to step in was a short discussion. The stakes were high for rhinos in the first place - 9,885 African rhinos have been killed by poaching in the last decade, and thousands more are threatened by habitat loss.
Action had to be taken quickly. The only option was to use a helicopter, floating two rhinos over a flowing river was a risk no one wanted to take.
These rhinos were fittingly saved on World Rhino Day, but it also emphasises how important the human effort into conservation is on days like this.
Great Plains Conservation has a program called Name a Baby Rhino, the funding of which is critical to keep monitors at their posts, protecting these amazing animals. In addition, just over 60 babies have been born to adults reintroduced via Rhinos without Borders. Recently, a friend of the charity, Angela Sacha, sadly passed away. Part of Journeys by Design, she was an advocate for philanthropic travel and donating to this cause. And so in her honour, a young female rhino has been sweetly named Angela.