RECLAIMED EARTH TAKES ON ITS LARGEST RESCUE MISSION TO SAVE TRAPPED WHITE RHINO COW AND CALF FROM IMPENDING FLOODWATERS IN THE OKAVANGO DELTA
MIAMI, FL, June 25, 2021 – Reclaimed Earth Wildlife recently embarked on its most challenging rescue mission since the organization's inception to save the lives of two white rhinos, a mother cow and her calf, from threatening conditions of a flooding island in the Okavango Delta, in Botswana. The rescue, conducted via Black Hawk helicopter, safely and successfully relocated the rhinos on May 15, 2021.
On March 27th, 2020, just as COVID was shutting down most of the world, Bylle, the mother rhino cow, successfully gave birth to a female calf named Ashley in an isolated area dense with date palms. Bylle was relocated from South Africa to Botswana in 2017 as part of Rhinos Without Borders. As a result, she was not familiar with the constant change in water levels of the Delta and the grave impact the impending conditions could have on her and her new baby. Unknowingly, Bylle had isolated herself on an island just as the floodwaters started to rise. She had managed to cross onto the island but was unable to leave it with her new calf – trapping them.
Beginning February 2021, Reclaimed Earth began working with an experienced team of conservation professionals from Great Plains Foundation and Rhinos Without Borders to develop a strategic plan that would get the rhinos off the island and to safety. Key components of the mission included a team of the most skilled rhino-specialist veterinarians and relocation experts from South Africa and Botswana. Along with a Black Hawk helicopter -- the only one of its class that is able to lift and transport the weight of a rhino -- the rescue also required various international permits, government fees, and essential veterinarian resources. The total cost of the mission amounted to $57,900 (USD), funded by Reclaimed Earth and Great Plains Foundation.
“It is with great pride that despite the short notice and the uncertainty caused by Covid, Reclaimed Earth was able to support this rescue. Rhinos, as a species, have been at a tipping point and the survival of every single individual remaining in the wild is of the utmost importance,” said founder, Yvette Ayala.
Watch full recap video here.