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Rhinos being airlifted to safety out of South Africa

Rhinos Without Borders will take 100 animals to Botswana.
By Evan Bleier   |   Aug. 13, 2014 at 8:19 AM   |   Comments

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PRETORIA, South Africa, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- A group called Rhinos Without Borders plans to move 100 of the animals from South Africa to Botswana next year in an effort to save them from extinction.

The initiative is being spearheaded by Dereck and Beverly Joubert, a pair of filmmakers who previously worked with the National Geographic Society to assist Africa's lions, leopards, cheetahs and tigers by forming the Big Cats Initiative.

Many of the rhinos in South Africa, which is believed to hold 80 percent of the 26,000 or so rhinos left on the continent, are located in Kruger National Park.

The plan is to move them from that densely populated and easily-poachable area to Botswana, a country with strict laws about poaching that are heavily enforced.

"Rhinos are moved a lot in southern Africa. There's a whole game-capture industry in South Africa," Dereck Joubert told National Geographic. "There are very professional teams that move rhinos from parks to private land, from private sellers to buyers. Each year there are game sales and auctions, and there are always rhinos for sale. So the teams that are doing this relocation with Rhinos Without Borders are well-heeled."

"As for cross-border relocations, I believe about 50 rhinos in the last ten years have been relocated from South Africa into Botswana," Joubert added.

Rhinos are poached for their horns and RWB estimates that one of the animals is killed every seven hours.

The South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs is contributing its resources to help bring the project to fruition.

"The Department considers the translocation of rhinos as an integral part of range expansion as a biological management tool, which is acceptable if it is undertaken in compliance with the legislative framework/requirements," the department told Mashable.

Each rhino's move will cost about $45,000 and donations are being accepted.

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