After years of unsuccessful cries for protection, some of South Africa’s threatened rhinos are finally being rescued. Conservationists have announced a plan to relocate the endangered animals to Botswana after repeated attempts to enact protections within their native country have failed. Last year alone over 1,000 rhinos were killed for their horns, which are in demand in many Asian countries. But despite conservationist’s attempts to curtail the slaughter, the situation hasn’t improved. In fact, it has only gotten much, much worse. 

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Great Plains Conservation and &Beyond announced an eight million dollar initiative to move, microchip and tag each animal for monitoring to Botswana, where an existing security system is in place to protect wildlife. In fact, in the Khama Rhino Sanctuary in Botswana, not a single rhino has been poached since it was created 24 years ago. &Beyond has already moved six rhinos in the last year, and the conservation group plans to announce fundraising initiatives this year so that people can get involved.

South Africa is currently home to a vast majority of the world’s rhino population, housing about 80 percent of rhinos within its borders. That is a total of about 25,000 animals. Of this number, most live within the Kruger National Park, which also happens to be where 60 percent of the poaching takes place.

Drones, poisoning horns and even legalizing the trade have all been suggested to put an end to the poaching, but it continues to increase year after year despite attempts to thwart it. Removing the rhinos and placing them somewhere with better protections could help ensure that populations stabilize and hopefully even grow. All told, the group intends to relocate roughly 100 rhinos to Botswana.

Via the Guardian

Images via John Topato and Park Street Pro