While it may look more like these black rhinoceroses bound by their ankles and blindfolded are being kidnapped, they're really being saved. The World Wildlife Foundation airlifted 19 rhino's from the Eastern Cape province in South Africa to the Limpopo province and out of poacher's reach.
This special operation to save the rhinos comes after the WWF found out from South Africa National Parks that this year alone 341 rhinos have been killed by poachers. And last week the Vietnamese Javan rhino was pronounced extinct when the last one was found dead from a gunshot wound.
According to New Scientist, the rescue mission used techniques thought to make the rather traumatizing experience easier to bear for the 2,000 to 3,500 pound creatures. The animals were tranquilized, blindfolded and lifted by their ankles by a helicopter. They are then put into trucks for the rest of their trip.
"Previously, rhinos were either transported by lorry over very difficult tracks, or airlifted in a net," said project leader Jacques Flamand to New Scientist. "This new procedure is gentler on the darted rhino because it shortens the time it has to be kept asleep with drugs, the respiration is not as compromised as it can be in a net and it avoids the need for travel in a crate over terrible tracks."