18-19 August 2018, two very special days for Wildlife Vets Namibia. We did our first rhino translocation by plane… And even more special, it was the first re-introduction of rhinos into the western part of the DRC! Since 2017 Wildlife Vets Namibia (Ulf and Wicus) have been involved in a major wildlife reintroduction project to a reserve in the DRC. One of the medium to long-term plans was to re-introduce rhinos back into the area… And we did it!
We arrived late at night at Hosea Kutako International Airport with the eight captured rhinos. The rhinos were loaded on a DC8, a big cargo plane. The loading at the airport took a bit more time than we expected, but eventually around 06:00 we were good to go! The flight to N’djili Airport (Kinshasa) was not too long, just 2.45h. Again, the rhinos did very well. The take-off was obviously a bit scary for them, but once we were in the air, most of them were very calm. When a rhino became too restless, we injected it with a tranquilizer to calm it down. The landing at N’djili Airport was very smooth, and the offloading was quick and efficient. Soon we were on our way to the reserve, where the rhinos were to be set free!