Etihad Cargo rescues endangered rhinos from Africa
The critically endangered black rhino has returned to the wilds of Rwanda with the help of Etihad Cargo and animal transport specialist Intradco Global.
On behalf of African Parks, a conservation non-profit that manages national parks and protected areas on behalf of governments across the continent, Intradco chartered two Etihad Boeing 777 freighters to transport the 19 black rhinos from Johannesburg to the Rwandan capital, Kigali. Upon touching down in Kigali International Airport (KGL), the rhinos were carefully transferred to trucks to continue the final leg of their journey by road, under police escort.
Ten rhinos travelled on the first flight, and nine on the second, along with the three vets and two attendants who accompanied them for the duration of their entire journey from Johannesburg to Akagera.
The rhinos, which can weigh up to 2,500 kg each, were transported in special pallets which also contained their feed for the journey. The temperature on the aircraft is specified by the vet to ensure the animals do not overheat or become stressed.
The project to return the rhinos took place over the first two weeks of May, and represents an historical moment for the country after the species disappeared in 2007 following decades of wide spread poaching.
The complex logistics involved in this remarkable homecoming required the expertise of Intradco’s specialists who spent more than a year planning the journey with Etihad Cargo who operated the flights.
Intradco worked closely with African Parks and the Akegara team to ensure all permits and clearances were in place including valid CITES documentation (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) – a requirement when transporting listed species such as black rhino.
Tom Lamb, Intradco project manager, accompanied the animals on both flights and travelled with the team for the five-hour drive to Akegara National Park where they were successfully released.