If you've ever looked up in the sky and seen a flying rhino, it was probably hanging upside down -- or it should have been. It might sound like the stuff of Disney, but the truth is that airlifting black rhinos is a crucial part of conservation, as the tough-skinned beasts have become critically endangered.
Conservation groups say that when a rhino needs to be moved a long distance and can't be transported by truck, the best method is tying them by their feet and hanging them from a crane or helicopter. The other option is placing the rhino on its side on a stretcher -- like a wounded soldier -- but the former method is not only quicker and easier, it's also better for the rhino's health. A biomarker measurement revealed that rhinos hung upside down had higher blood oxygen levels than those transported on a stretcher.
While black rhinos once numbered more than 100,000 in Africa, poaching has taken a huge toll, and moving them to safety is a last-gasp effort to keep the species alive.
- While there are white rhinos and black rhinos in Africa, they actually both have gray skin.
- Rhinos might be big and strong, but they are also fast, running at speeds of up to 40 mph (64.3 km/h).
- Humans and rhinos share at least one trait: Their horns are made of the same stuff that makes our hair and fingernails, keratin.