Six black rhinos boarded a private plane earlier this week to fly 15 hours from South Africa to Chad, ABC reports.

They were there to reverse a localized extinction and revive the black rhino population that had been wiped out more than 50 years ago by relentless poaching, according to EcoWatch.

The rhinos will be heavily protected in Chad and will be accompanied by experts who will make their transition easier, according to ABC.

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Their reintroduction represents both the dire state of big game animals across Africa, but also the growing strength of conservation efforts.

South Africa and Chad collaborated for a year on this campaign and it demonstrates that animal populations can be adequately protected if resources are provided, ABC reports.

"By establishing a viable and secure population of rhino in Chad, we are contributing to the expansion of the rhino population in Africa, and the survival of a species that has faced high levels of poaching," South African minister of environmental affairs Edna Molewa said in a statement.

"In years to come,” she added, “the peoples of our two countries will look back on this occasion that marks the return of the black rhino to Chad for the first time in 46 years.”

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Black rhinos have been reintroduced to African countries in the past, but this is the farthest north they have been sent to reproduce in nature, according to ABC.

Since 1960, the global black rhino population has plummeted by more than 97%, driven largely by poaching funded by the demand for rhino horns throughout Asia.

Rhinos are also threatened by shrinking habitats and climate change, which makes it harder to find food, according to WWF.

South Africa has the world’s largest black rhino population, largely because of effective conservation efforts.

Read More: The World’s Last Male Northern White Rhino Has Just Died

Now that the rhinos are back in Chad, the hope is that they will reproduce and reestablish a presence that exists beyond diplomatic orchestrations.

Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals, which calls on countries to protect all life on Earth. You can take action on this issue here.


Defend the Planet

Black Rhinos Make Triumphant Return to Chad After Being Killed Off

By Joe McCarthy