ACS revels in rhino relocation

Profiles — 16.09.18

Air Charter Service has helped to transport six rare wild black rhinos to a park in Chad.

Earlier this year award-winning aircraft charter specialist, Air Charter Service (ACS), helped to transport six wild black rhinos to Zakouma National Park in Chad to reintroduce the species to the country, nearly 50 years after they were wiped out by poaching.

Lyndee du Toit, Managing Director of ACS Africa, commented: “The flight formed part of a project led by an unprecedented collaboration between the Governments of South Africa and Chad, the conservation non-profit African Parks and South African National Parks (SANParks). The safety of the animals was of paramount importance. African Parks, which manages Zakouma in partnership with the Chadian Government, had implemented extensive measures to practically eliminate poaching in the park. This created a safe environment for the species to thrive now and into the future.

“The rhinos were held temporarily in ‘bomas’ (enclosures) in South Africa, attended to by expert teams and given time to acclimatise to prepare them for the journey. They were sedated for the flight and accompanied by support staff and vets and were closely monitored throughout the trip to Chad.

“We are incredibly grateful to have been entrusted with such a poignant and important transportation, and we hear that the rhinos have settled in well to their new home.”

“Our part in this project was the culmination of two years’ extensive preparation from the various parties involved, to ensure the welfare of the animals during transit. The flight, on an Antonov 12 aircraft, left Port Elizabeth in South Africa and flew more than 3,000 miles to Zakouma’s Airfield in Chad. We had to factor in stop offs in Luanda for fuel and also N’Djamena for immigration purposes.”

 

Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks had said: “The rhinoceros has survived on this planet for millennia, but with fewer than 25,000 remaining due to the insatiable demand for their horns, they are more affiliated with extinction than survival. Through our partnership with the Government of Chad we have been able to restore security to Zakouma, creating an opportunity to re-establish a Central African population of the species in a secure and functioning park. This reintroduction is an important contribution to the long-term conservation of rhinos in Africa, and also to the enrichment of Chad’s natural heritage”

Du Toit concluded: “We are incredibly grateful to have been entrusted with such a poignant and important transportation, and we hear that the rhinos have settled in well to their new home.”


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