60 Minutes cameras capture a bold technique used to help preserve the critically endangered species of black rhinoceros in South Africa. Two veterinarians and three game capture specialists are airlifting each 1400 lb. rhino one at a time using a 52-year-old helicopter. As Lara Logan reports, “It’s a solution that seems to defy the laws of gravity.” The prehistoric-looking animal is darted with a tranquilizer and hung upside down (by its feet). The doctors tell Logan it is safe. The flight usually lasts less than ten minutes and they haven’t lost a rhino in the more than 200 airlifts.
The rhinos are being moved to help them repopulate the species, and away from poachers who seek their valuable horns. Veterinarian Jacques Flamand, who started the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (BRREP) with support from the World Wildlife Fund in 2003, tells Logan: “One always feels sad removing them from their existing homes but it’s for a good cause. It is to start a new breeding population.” 60 Minutes airs Sundays at 7:30pm on CBS.