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   xoxoxoBruce  Friday Apr 8 12:09 AM

Apri 8th, 2016: Rhinoceros

Rhinoceros, Rhinoceroses? Rhinoceri? Rhinosorum? Rhinos are in trouble.
Most of the Rhinos left on the planet are in South Africa, but being poached at a terrible rate. It's so bad the World Wildlife fund is flying them to Botswana where the government is making a serious effort to stop poaching. They've even flown 18 Elephants to the US to make room for the Rhinos.

Enter a man with a plan.

Now, a South African retiree in Australia is spearheading an effort to airlift 80 rhinos from his homeland to the land Down Under. The idea, Ray Dearlove says, is to create an “insurance population” that can breed in peace, far from poachers — and guarantee the species’ survival if slaughter causes their extinction in the African wild. “I don’t want my grandchildren only to see rhinos in picture books or some sad specimens in a zoo. The thing is to see them in the wild,” Dearlove, 67, founder of the Australian Rhino Project, said in a phone interview. Now, he added, “I don’t think there’s too many places in South Africa or Africa which are safe for rhinos.”

He's got people interested but the red tape is formidable, as is the cost.

If it all goes as planned, the rhinos will be dart-captured, transported to the quarantine facility in South Africa, taken to the airport and then flown out on a nonstop freight flight in early August (Dearlove said rhinos, which can weigh 5,000 pounds, are too big to get through the doors on a jumbo jet). Once in Australia, they will again be quarantined, then taken to a safari park. The cost, park-to-park: About $70,000 per animal, funding that Dearlove said has come from donations and his own pockets.

The idea is that all 80 rhinos will live together in a safari park in Australia. But not forever, Dearlove said: Australia and the rhinos will have a “foster relationship,” he said, and eventually the animals will be repatriated. “I know and everyone knows that this is not the answer. Rhinos belong in Africa,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is just one small strategy in a really complex issue.”
This is similar to the current programs of American zoos breeding endangered species, to supply animals as genetically diverse as possible to the wild.
I wish them well.

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