Western Global Airlines has airlifted 11 endangered white rhinos from Johannesburg to an undisclosed wildlife conservation centre in the Eastern United States.
The 11 animals were accompanied by a vet for the 15-hour flight on board a Boeing MD-11 Freighter, and then transported to a sanctuary where conservationists are working to increase their population.
Western Global was contracted by Network Airline Management on behalf of the International Rhino Federation to relocate the animals due to severe poaching and habitat loss in Africa.
Western Global Airlines president and chief executive officer, James Neff says: “Since our inception it has been a top priority of the company to operate humanitarian relief and animal rescue flights in addition to the commercial charter and wet lease flights we operate in the general cargo sector.”
“In this particular case, it is an honour for us to have participated in the conservation effort of a rare and vulnerable species whose existence is being threatened.”
Western Global operated the “Spirit of Freedom Flight”, the world’s largest lion rescue airlift in history, flying 33 abused and suffering lions from South America to a sanctuary in South Africa after being rescued by Animal Defenders International (ADI), which was broadcast on CBS 60 Minutes, and helped lead to laws banning the use of wild animals in circuses in more than 15 US states and more than 20 countries.