May 2024

See it in Black and White

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See it in Black and White

Early one morning we had a great sighting of a black rhino and her calf browsing. Emerging cautiously from a dense thicket, they approached us. The mother, with her permanent sharpened daggers, led the way, while her young calf followed closely behind, almost hidden in her protective shadow. This behaviour is characteristic of black rhino calves, who stay behind their mothers to shield themselves from potential threats.

In contrast, white rhino calves exhibit a different behaviour. White rhinos prefer more open grassland areas as they are grazers, and their calves typically walk in front of the mothers, benefiting from the clear view as their mothers keep a watchful eye over them from behind. This difference in calf positioning is a fascinating adaptation to their respective habitats and behaviours.

When the mother was really close to us and could see we were no threat, the calf stepped out from behind her to give us the once-over too.

The mother then turned and both walked off nonchalantly to continue their browsing in the bushes. It was a brief but beautiful encounter with these sensitive and complex mega-herbivores.

By Jenny Hishin
Author / Guest Guide