Dedicated management combined with the successful use of immobilizing drugs and advanced capture and handling techniques has ensured that both the black and white rhino, once highly endangered, are now commonly moved around South Africa.
When working with rhino a reserve/farm manager will usually accompany the pilot and vet in the helicopter to ensure that the correct animal has been selected for darting. Once the rhino has been located, the pilot will slowly herd it to an open area, while at the same time guiding the ground crew into position for the recovery. Once the dart is in, and while the rhino is still responsive to the helicopter, the pilot will gently push it towards an access road to ensure that it goes down in an area easily accessible for loading.
Micro-chipping, ear-notching and identikit profiling
While micro-chips act as a poaching deterrent, ear-notching and identikit profiling enables managers to record the movements and breeding status of each individual animal on a farm. New calves are matched to their breeding mothers ensuring an accurate genetic data base from which individuals can one day be easily recognised to dart for selling or relocation purposes.