South African black rhinos are critically endangered; in some parts of the world their horns are thought to be powerful medicines or aphrodisiacs.
A WWF project aimed to combat rhino poaching is moving rhinos to secret locations, extending their range and hopefully keeping them away from poachers.
But moving the rhinos isn’t easy. Many are found in areas that are difficult to access and so, once sedated, they face a long journey over rough tracks. To reduce the impact of sedation and transportation on the rhinos a new technique was trialled in 2011. This method involved sedating the creatures before airlifting them out of the area to waiting vehicles. It may seem drastic, but the method was supported by vets involved in the project and reduced the time the animals had to remain sedated.
And, wow, does it make some amazing pictures! These pictures were shot by Green Renaissance and you can see more pictures and a video on their website. For a news report of the airlift project see this Huffington Post article.