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Rhinos Bound for the Land Down Under

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Plan to repopulate African rhinoceroses’ in Australia to protect them from poachers...

South African expat, Ray Dearlove, has an ambitious scheme to airlift 80 rhinoceroses out of Africa to Australia. Born and raised close to the doorstep of The Kruger National Park, Mr Dearlove has been fascinated with wild animals from childhood. His passion for these creatures has contributed in Mr Dearlove efforts to start up the Australian Rhino Project in order to keep the species alive.

Every year, it is estimated over 1000 rhinos are killed in Africa for their horns. Rhinoceros horns are believed to have medicinal purposes, with customers willing to pay large sums of money to get their hands on them.

Animal welfare organisations have attempted to put a stop to the cruel harvest and poaching trade but are yet to be successful in abolishing the practices. In the past, conservation groups would inject the horns with coloured dye in attempt to devalue them, however poachers still pursued.

Rhinos have also been dehorned in attempt to stop poachers from hunting the animal. This was proved to be unsuccessful however, as poachers would still kill the animal and eradicate what was left of the stumps.

On the black market, rhino horns are worth double the price of gold, which is why there is such a high demand for poachers to hunt and kill for it.

Mr Dearlove has the bold plan to bring 80 rhinos over to Australia via airlift for safekeeping. The aim of the Australian Rhino Project is to bring over 20 rhinos by the end of the year and 80 rhinos by 2020. The aim is to find suitable climate and vegetation, as close to that of Africa as possible, so rhinos have the chance to breed and reproduce in numbers.

The pregnancy period for a rhino is typically 16 months, with mother rhinos only giving birth to one calf at a time. A period of a few years will pass by before she will have the chance of delivering more offspring.

The noble aim of this strategy is to increase the number of rhinos in Australia as an insurance policy to keep the species free from extinction, before repatriating the animal back to its home country. This is on the terms and conditions there is an improvement with the poaching conditions.

The Australian and African Government have both been supportive of Mr Dearlove’s daring plan to keep rhinos alive and safe from extinction.