Five rhinos find a new home in Nepal


Over five days in February 2016, five rhinos were moved from Chitwan National Park to a new home in Bardia National Park. Translocation is an important step in expanding rhino populations. Successful conservation efforts—including four 12-month spans of zero poaching since 2011—have resulted in Chitwan’s rhinos reaching the park’s carrying capacity, leaving little room for population expansion in that area. The solution: Move some to join the much smaller population in Bardia.

EARLY START The entrance to Chitwan National Park. The translocation team begins scouting just after dawn; rhinos are most active in the morning and evening hours.

MEASURE TWICE Technicians prepare the mixture of medications that will sedate the rhinos so they can be safely loaded into crates for transportation.


ALL TERRAIN In the hours-long search for a suitable rhino, elephants serve as living four-wheel drives— traversing rivers, high grass, steep grades, and difficult ground that a vehicle could not.


AT EASE Once a rhino is spotted, a technician darts it. Within minutes, the sedatives take effect and a team tends to the rhino, blindfolding it to ensure it remains calm.


HANDLE WITH CARE The team takes blood samples and measurements, assesses vital signs, and collars the rhino so it can be tracked in its new home.

HEAVY LIFTING A truck pulls the rhino sled to a waiting crate and then onto the back of a huge transport truck where the animal is given an antidote, as remaining sedated would endanger its health.

HOMEWARD BOUND Veterinary technicians monitor the rhino throughout the trip. During the 10-hour journey, the trucks are accompanied by Nepali army escorts until they arrive safely in Bardia National Park.

FREE AGAIN As the crate door is lifted, the rhino takes off to begin exploring its new home.

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