Growing up rhinos, it was a lot harder for us to get to the zoo than for a lot of other animals, said David Mabberley, a father and grandfather who grew up in the Northern Territory.
“We didn’t have a car or any kind of transportation.”
Mabbers was also a member of a community that was at risk of extinction.
“You could see what was happening to our population,” he said.
We have all this work to do.
It’s not fair.
It is heartbreaking.”
But in the 1980s and 1990s, when the animals in the park were being removed from the bush, Mabers was a part of a group of people who decided to start raising them again in the wild.
“I remember that it was hard to say goodbye to my grandchildren,” he told ABC News.
“There was no fence around them and they couldn’t see what they were doing.
We didn’t know what they could be doing.
It was so hard.”
After the relocation, Mibberley and his family moved to the Northern Territories.
“When the rhinos were gone, we were just trying to make it work for the people who still lived there,” he recalled.
Mabbler is now in his 60s.
He lives in a small town in Northern Territory called Wundra.
“Our grandchildren came and we had a really great time,” he laughed.
“But we did miss them, we lost them.”
For Mabblers son, the relocation has been bittersweet.
“The only thing I can think about is getting rid of my grandkids,” he admitted.
“They’re all gone, they’re gone forever.”
It is estimated that more than 70% of rhinos in captivity live in zoos in the world.
But conservationists are optimistic that they will soon be able to reintroduce the animals back into the wild to help protect the rhino population.
“These animals are still in a really poor state,” said Maberley.
“If we can do this in captivity, it can help keep them healthy.”