Rhinoceros are protected by law, but are still prey to poachers. Occasionally, wildlife conservationists in South Africa must move a rhino for its own safety. Moving a rhino in a truck means lots of tranquilizers, some complicated heavy lifting, and a long, jarring ride for the animal. Relocation by helicopter is proving to be easier.
Photographer Emma Gatland joined the team from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife for a recent rhino capture and relocation project in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa.
“There aren’t many people who get to witness a rhino lift,” she says. “It’s a new procedure, which is gentle on the rhino as it shortens the time the animal is kept drugged. The rhinos are airlifted using an old Vietnam Huey, which in itself is an adventure. They are lifted roughly 500 – 1000 meters into the air suspended by their ankles.”
(Image credit: Em Gatland)