Tag Archives: White rhinoceros

Summertide Diary: iSimangaliso Rhinos

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is home to healthy populations of both White and Black Rhinoceros, jealously guarded by the reserve’s rangers and routinely dehorned to deter poachers. Rhino populations all over our country are under severe threat and seeing these animals in the wild, even without their trademark horns, is an experience we’re very grateful for.

Being diurnal in habit and much less skittish, the White Rhino is the easier of the two African species to find while driving around iSimangaliso.

Black Rhinos are solitary, shy, more nocturnal and consequently seen less often than White Rhinos.

This muddy signpost in the park was used by a muddy rhino as a rubbing post. Rolling in mud, leaving it to dry and then rubbing the caked mud off against a sturdy rock, tree or …signpost, is a way for the rhino to rid itself of external parasites like ticks.

Signpost re-modelled by a muddy rhinoceros


Where to for our rhinos?

The 22nd of September marked the ninth World Rhino Day. We were in the Kruger National Park on the day, appreciating and enjoying the opportunity to see these wondrous creatures in real life in their natural habitat.

Sadly, the scourge of rhino poaching is still very real and present, with South Africa losing a total of 769 rhinos in 2018. While this is an encouraging decline of 25% from the numbers lost in 2017, the war has by no means been won yet. In the first six months of this year, we’ve already lost 318 more rhinos, 190 of which from the Kruger National Park. We continue to rally behind our rangers looking after these animals day and night, placing their lives on the line to ensure the survival of these animals so future generations may also experience the wonder of seeing the grey behemoths walking Africa’s savannas.

We also recently had the opportunity to visit a rehabilitation centre where rhinos injured or orphaned through poaching activities are cared for. It was a sobering experience to say the least; seeing with our own eyes the horrors inflicted on these beings by humankind, and the lengths their caregivers will go to to try and save them.

World Rhino Day 2018

The rhino poaching scourge continues to make headlines in South Africa, and the happiness at hearing about the ranger’s regular successes in the fight is often tempered by horrible news of another mass-killing incident, insider involvement or botched prosecution. With a 26% reduction in the number of rhinos killed in the first 8 months of 2018 compared to the previous year there’s reason to be optimistic that this year, like 2015, 2016 & 2017, will see a reduction in the number of animals lost and an increase in the number of perpetrators that were apprehended.

This year, on World Rhino Day, let us appreciate and celebrate these prehistoric-looking behemoths, with thanks to the army of dedicated rangers, soldiers and volunteers fighting the war to keep them safe.

World Rhino Day

Today is World Rhino Day.

The statistics on the number of rhinos being killed in South Africa for their horn continues to make for heart-wrenching reading. We continue to loose hundreds of black and white rhinos annually to supply an illegal black market demand from Asian countries.

But the war continues. The brave rangers working daily to protect our natural heritage have not yet given up hope, and neither should we. We’ll continue to do our part to spread the word that rhino horn has no medicinal properties, and by rights should really not be worth any more than fingernails!

Let us celebrate these prehistoric-looking beasts for the magnificent beings that they are, deserving of a place on this planet for eternity.


Rhino Social Media

White rhino bulls use dung middens to communicate their presence and demarcate their territories. They’ll also kick around in the middens to transfer the scent onto their feet and then spread it throughout their stomping grounds, communicating their ownership to interlopers.


Hluhluwe-Imfolozi’s Giants

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is home to giants; behemoths that can cause the earth to tremble with every step. And they’re not shy about showing themselves either, as we found out again during our visit in December.

Buffaloes were in evidence throughout the Park, whether as lone bulls, in small bachelor groups or in huge herds.

We could never tire of seeing elephants!

The curious giraffes tower over everything else in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, except the magnificent scenery…

It is thanks to Hluhluwe Imfolozi that we can still see the Southern White Rhino in the wild today.

We didn’t get to see the hippos on this trip, and only managed two quick sightings of black rhinos that were too fleeting for photos, but still, these galleries should be proof enough that giants still roam Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park.


World Rhino Day 2015

How long do we have left to appreciate our rhinos in their natural environment?

Will Joubert be able to take his children to a South African game reserve and show them what a real, live rhino looks like?

Would the citizens of the countries driving the slaughter of our rhinos to satisfy their fallacious beliefs even care about what they stole from Africa’s children?

World Rhino Day is upon us again, and as every year before for almost the last decade the future for these spectacular creatures seem even more bleak.

Figures published by South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs at the end of August 2015 indicated a minimum of 749 rhinos lost to poaching in South Africa for the year to date, 544 of which in the flagship Kruger National Park. A recent poaching incident in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park pushed the total lost in Kwazulu-Natal Province this year to 75. This follows on the loss of a staggering 3,900+ rhinos in this country alone to the end of 2014, since the poaching scourge started escalating in 2007 .

Still, there are many individuals and organisations investing enormous effort and resources into ensuring these charismatic animals are protected for future generations, and they deserve our respect and support. According to DEA at the time of their release, 138 poachers have been arrested in the Kruger Park this year, many of them heavily armed and only apprehended after exchanging fire with rangers and military personnel. The costly process of translocating rhinos out of high-danger zones to areas where they are thought to be more secure, is continuing. South African National Parks invested large sums donated by the Howard G Buffet Foundation, Peace Parks Foundation, and private donors into the purchasing of helicoptersall-terrain vehicles and other equipment to ensure that the Kruger Park’s rangers have the resources they need to face this onslaught on the wildlife in a Park bigger than many sovereign countries. Involving the communities living around reserves where rhino occur is pivotal to success, exemplified by SANParks’ liaison with Christian churches and iSimangaliso Wetland Park and their partners’ “Rhino Walk” taking place between 7 September and 2 October, during which they’ll visit 75 schools with thousands of learners. Fighting rhino poaching requires a multi-faceted approach, which is why iSimangaliso have also recently de-horned the entire rhino population on the Western Shores of Lake Saint Lucia, and publicised this widely.

Had it not been for these, and many more, dedicated people, and their tireless efforts, the situation undoubtedly would have been far worse still.

The war has not yet been lost.


From Every Angle

We’ve shown you this exuberant baby white rhino, that ran circles around us in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park on Chrismas Eve 2014, before. This series of photos is just such a perfect fit for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, “From Every Angle“, and the little rhino just so darn cute, that we’re sure you won’t mind having another look?


In the rhinos’ home at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is the place where the southern white rhino was saved from the brink of extinction in the previous century, by legendary conservationists like Ian Player. Today, the white rhino, and it’s smaller but much more aggressive cousin the black rhino, still find protection in this beautiful reserve, one of the oldest on the continent, where a force of dedicated rangers face a daily onslaught from armed poachers on their behalf.

During our December visit to Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, we enjoyed some wonderful rhino sightings, not least of which the cute and playful little white rhino calf we told you about earlier in the week.

This little fellow, one of the tiniest baby rhino we’ve ever seen and probably not much older than a few weeks, gives us hope that the hard-work of Hluhluwe-Imfolozi’s ranger-corps will not be in vane.



The exuberance of youth

We had plenty of wonderful sightings during our recent three week long holidays in the bush – we already shared much of it with you, and there’s yet more to come in the next few weeks – but this was probably the biggest highlight of the trip!

Late in the afternoon of Christmas Eve, in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, we encountered a white rhino cow and her small calf just where the road goes into and through a thicket of thorny trees. We followed slowly behind as they ambled along, until eventually there was a clearing in the vegetation, just at the spot where there’s also a broad bend in the road. Mom started grazing on the roadside, while her little one decided it was time for some fun. He started running like crazy, at times flying with all four feet off the ground, running circles around his mother and us, then slamming on the brakes in a cloud of dust. Several times he’d charge directly at our vehicle, stopping a meter or two in front of us, only to spin around again, running away at breakneck speed, likely hoping that our silver-grey Jazz was a playmate he could chase and be chased by. Of course, with mom keeping an eye on his antics from close-by, there was no way we could join him for playtime. But inside the car we were laughing out loud in sheer delight.

Eventually he realised that his mom has disappeared around the corner, and he hightailed it to catch up. As we rounded the bend ourselves, we found him next to mom, totally breathless.

We were in awe of the fantastic Christmas present Hluhluwe-Imfolozi had just gifted us.

(you may click on the photos below to view them all in a carousel gallery)