UK

British troops move black rhinos to Malawi

Undated handout photo issued by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) of a black rhino being transported to Malawi. Image copyright PA Media

British troops have helped to move a group of critically endangered black rhinos from South Africa to Malawi to protect them against poaching.

Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles moved 17 of the animals, which are hunted for their horns, in the hope they can be better protected.

They were transported by air and road from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa to Liwonde National Park in Malawi.

The troops then spent three months training rangers to keep them safe.

Major Jez England, the officer commanding the British Army counter-poaching team in Liwonde, said the operation had been "hugely successful".

"Not only do we share skills with the rangers, improving their efficiency and ability to patrol larger areas, but it also provides a unique opportunity for our soldiers to train in a challenging environment", he said.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption There are thought to be 5,500 black rhinos left in the wild

The UK government says it has committed more than £36m to tackle the illegal wildlife trade between 2014 and 2021.

Part of this is to help support trans-boundary work to allow animals to move more safely between areas and across national borders.