Caution: Wide Load

What does it take to move a 1-2 ton animal?

Conservation efforts often mean translocation. It is sometimes in the best interest of re-population and survival to move animals into better locations. For example in Assam, India, the India Rhino Vision 2020 program aims to attain a wildlife population of at least 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos in the state of Assam by the year 2020.  This goal will be achieved by translocating rhinos from areas of high population density to new habitats, where effective protection programs can be put in place.translocating sedation

Each situation is different, varying in length of travel time to number of rhino, but the usual mode of operation consists of:
*sedating them with the help of a veterinary crew,rhinos into truck
*moving them into position onto a truck,
*driving to said location, then off loading them into a temporarily built boma (enclosure) in the new location;
*followed up with waking them, and careful monitoring of their health thereafter.translocation boma

Logistics, practical preparations, bureaucracy, transport and funding have to run simultaneously with preparation of the rhino to undertake the journey. It is a huge and delicate undertaking, and can take considerable time to put together.

Then there is the health of the animal to consider. Whenever any animal is sedated there is a health risk from the anesthetic, there is possibility of injury in transport, and the stress alone is a danger. Rhinos have died from the move.

Of course there have been less than typical moves as well.  In 2009 three black rhinos were moved from a Czech Republic Zoo to a Mkomazi sanctuary. It took 2 years of planning and a  Martinair 747 aircraft to make the 6,400 mile move.

flying rhino 2Perhaps one of the most misunderstood photos: the’ flying rhinos’, is yet another method the WWF has  taken in moving the second largest land mammal. The tranquilized  rhinos are suspended from their ankles for a short journey by helicopter to an awaiting vehicle. This is a quick and efficent way to remove them from inaccessible areas.

Any way it needs to be done-desperate times call for desperate measures. After all, there are only so many ways to move a 1-2 ton animal.

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Caution: Wide Load

  1. I really must say the ‘misunderstood’ photograph, no misunderstanding about the rhino that aborted her calf after this type of airlift, just makes sense that if a slow road trip is stressful, what to think of being airlifted by their feet . . . I don’t agree with this being done, sorry the reports are not good enough, this smacks of last minute disaster management . . . I hope they’re not going to use this method again. Spoor Foundation – Sandy Wayland

    • It is a shame she lost the calf, without a doubt. Even in ground transit there is a risk of stress and injury within the ‘crates’.
      It is also always a balancing act, how horrible when in trying to SAVE the rhino from poachers, they are inadvertently lost.

  2. Karen DeBraal

    I am still misunderstanding this photo and I want to understand. How can this be OK? It seems so risky . . . can their joints take this? Their organs? I can also see how a vehicle transport would be horrible too, but necessary. Just trying to understand . . . do you have more information?


    • Check this out. It is sponsored through WWF (World Wildlife Fund).

      • Karen DeBraal

        What am I checking out? Nothing came with your reply.

      • Karen DeBraal

        Thanks, that helped. I have better understanding. And thanks for your blog. It is great.

      • Karen, I’ve asked WWF for more information (i.e. stats of success vs failure on this endeavor). It would be interesting to know more. If there is more to be found on this, I will certainly keep you informed. Thanks for reading 🙂

      • Karen DeBraal

        Cool. I can get why transporting the rhinos to a safer place is of the direst necessity. But staying on top of the best way to do it is a good idea. I was working at the LA Zoo when the last California Condors were brought in. The capture techniques were not always successful (I know at least one bird died) but ultimately it was what needed to be done. Probably the hullaballoo from the public kept people on their toes too.

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