The Northern African White Rhino have been massacred to the point many claim are now extinct in the wild. The only handful left are now protected by armed guards from poachers. The Black Rhino are also another specie that have been brutally killed off. The last of the majority are namely, The Southern African White Rhino, which although are of a larger number compared to the two previously mentioned, are targets by poachers who kill with no mercy, kill with no regards to consequence. The troubling reality is simple, they want them all dead.
During our Safari in South Africa's region of the greater Kruger National Park, in an unfenced reserve by name Timbavati, we encountered a family of White Rhino. What made this encounter unique compared to other wildlife encounters, our guide, assisted by a tracker, stopped our open top safari vehicle, requested I make sure all GPS on my gear be deactivated before proceeding, explaining Ivory traffickers utilize geo tags such on Social Media to target Rhinos in particular. It did not end there, I was able to observe the reaction of my guide as he was much more vigilant to our surroundings. Such as one would be vigilant to approaching a carcass and watching out for a lion, in this case from poachers. He did not broadcast the sitings via CB radio, and stated rhino sitings have become so rare, they no longer risk advising other safari excursions of the siting, as poachers are on alert for such broadcasts. In fact he expressed a rhino siting is now considered the sole privilege of whom encounters them by chance. The family of rhino consisted of a male, female and young calf. The male kept itself at a distance blending itself within the thick brush, while the mother and calf stayed close to each other, exposed in an open area as the lowering sun cast its rays upon us all. It was at this moment I was able to compose this image. The sudden reality that went threw my mind as I captured the image was the idea of freezing such a privileged encounter that may contain more hope towards a future than the precious rhinos it contains. I now felt a sudden sense of responsibility towards our rhinos.
What I personally learned by observing the rhino is that although these are no doubt enormous creatures with a composure of a tank, observing them interact with each other exposed a true sense of their delicate love for one another. Upon our departure, we encountered another safari vehicle at close proximity, and rather than utilize CB radio, our guide utilized hand signals by extending both his arms out in front of his face to mimic a rhino's trunk and signaled the location of the siting. That is how the local guides go through the length of protecting their native wild Rhinos during a game drive.
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