The new Rhinos Without Borders monitoring aircraft, a two-seater Savannah piloted by Sven Bourquin, made its maiden survey flight over the landscapes of Botswana, on 02 March 2017. The aircraft’s design makes it well-suited for monitoring purposes. Agile in flight, even when fully-fitted with survey equipment, the Savannah will save considerable time as it is able to make tight circles when flying and, at only 290kg, it can be maneuvered at steep banking angles at speeds as low as 50 mph. Sven was able to locate seven of the previously relocated rhinos within only one hour of flying.
The Savannah was purchased with funds raised by the donors of Rhinos Without Borders and will be based at the Rhinos Without Borders office in Botswana, ready to fly at a moment’s notice.
For the future of monitoring and protection, the essential donation of the Savannah airplane will fill the initiative’s critically important aerial monitoring gap. We could not have asked for a better aircraft to fulfill the role in protecting the rhino translocated to Botswana.