For some endangered rhinos, a 1,000-mile road to rescue from poachers starts with a helicopter ride — hanging upside down, blindfolded and sedated. That might sound uncomfortable, but experts say it’s actually easier on the massive mammals than other means.
Plus, it’s a quick way to pluck them to safety at a time when poaching for rhino horns is rampant. In South Africa alone, 341 have been killed so far this year, up from 333 for all of 2010.
The upside-down helicopter rides are provided by a project between the conservation group WWF and local government agencies in South Africa.

Veterinarians prepare rhino for flight . In South Africa this year poachers killed already 341 rhinoceros in 2010 – 333 rhinos.

Rhino entered a sleeping pill, so they are tied in this way and sent a helicopter. The flight lasted 10 minutes. During this time the animal was transported 160 km in the Limpopo Province. (WWF)

Thus Humane Society transported 19 rhinos from the brink of extinction. (WWF)

Experts from the International Wildlife Fund believe that this method of transportation is much easier and safer than any other. Thus the animal does not have to shiver in the box on rough roads or fly in an awkward grid that could harm him. (WWF)

Rhinos have long been in danger. Their number is rapidly declining. Last month in Vietnam – the largest consumer of rhino horn – confirmed the extinction of the Javan species. This problem has hung over Africa and South Asia. In the photo: Jacques vet checks Flemish rhino, which is transported in a truck. (WWF)