THE SERENGETI'S RARE BLACK RHINO
A story by Jungles in Paris Video by Oliver Hartman
In 2010, in the largest relocation effort of its kind, six black rhinos were flown from a South African conservancy to Tanzania's Serengeti National Park, where the species has been hunted virtually to extinction.
Within a year, poachers killed one of them.
Abundant in sub-Saharan regions until recently, the black rhino is alarmingly close to disappearing altogether. The main reason for this has been poaching, for rhino horn is highly sought-after in Asia on account of its perceived medicinal properties.
A dubious distinction: The black rhino (diceros bicornis) is the most endangered large mammal in Africa.
Despite its heft, the rhino is said to be the least dangerous of Africa’s so-called Big Five. It eats only plants, and is extremely near-sighted. According to the naturalist and writer Peter Matthiessen, an angered rhino “will often thunder past its target and keep right on going until, at some point in its course, having met with no obstacle and having forgotten what excited it in the first place, it comes to a ponderous halt.”
Nathoo R. Nathoo Safari Guide
Within this formidable and ancient animal’s decline, then, resides a tragic irony: a feature that helped deter would-be predators for millions of years has, in an age of firearms, become a mortal liability.
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