Our first ever sighting of rare black rhinos in the bush. What a treat to sit and watch them browse.
It’s a hot summer’s day in the Kruger National Park. We’re driving along a dusty road and it’s been a while without spotting anything besides the occasional impala herd. Then we see a stopped vehicle. This usually means there’s something to see. We slow down and approach slowly. The woman in the SUV waves us in and points towards our right. “Oh my!”
There not more than a about 50 meters away are two rare black rhinos. (The location is purposely not disclosed for their safety.) Both are browsing in the bushes with the afternoon sun creating a glow around their ears and horns. They pay no attention to us. We sit and watch.
Rare Black Rhinos are even more endangered than their White Rhino (which isn’t really white.) It’s name comes from the Afrikaans work “wyd” meaning wide. The Black Rhino feeds on leaves and has a finger like mouth. The White Rhino on the other hand is a grazer and has a wide mouth.
Sadly, both are at high risk of poaching for their horn. Mistakenly in Asia folks believe the horn has medicinal properties. Some also see it as a status symbol to own rhino horn. This practice has led to a huge illegal trade of rhino horns. During the full moon in particular poachers enter reserves and protected areas to kill rhino.
Supposedly in as little as ten minutes a team of trained and equipped poachers can spot a rhino, bring it down, hack off its horn and be gone. Within 48 hours this same horn can be for sale on the streets of Asia.
Fortunately, there are wildlife rangers like Peter Milton who work tirelessly to protect the rhinos. Peter discovered years ago that drones work well to detect, deter and apprehend poachers. Pretty much where drones fly rhino don’t die.
We watch the two rare Black Rhinos till they disappear in the bush. I almost want to pinch myself to make sure this wasn’t a dream. What a treat to be in the presence of these iconic beings. What a way to Celebrate World Rhino Day 2021.
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Nikela is a fundraising non profit on a mission to help people protecting nature, especially doing wildlife conservation.
Nikela helps those protecting and preserving endangered African wildlife species.