Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Southwestern Black Rhinoceros

There are two species of rhino in Africa: the white or square-lipped rhino; and the black or hook-lipped rhino. I've previously blogged on the southern subspecies of the white rhino which we saw in Kenya. The black rhino is native to eastern and southern Africa, including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya. There are eight subspecies of the black rhino, three of which are now extinct. 
This black rhino was at the Okaukuejo water hole in Etosha at about 9:30 p.m. along with three giraffes and some zebras.  
While visiting Etosha NP in northwestern Namibia we encountered the Southwestern black rhino, a small subspecies adapted to survival in the desert. It was originally found in northwestern Namibia and southwestern Angola, but is now only found in wildlife reserves in northwestern Namibia. 
I saw four black rhinos at one time at Okaukuejo. There are two on the opposite side of the water hole although the clarity of the picture is not great. These photos were taken without a tripod.  
Two black rhinos at Okaukuejo, with the reflection of the back rhino showing in the water and a group of giraffes and zebras coming in in the background. We talked to a couple from Switzerland who also saw four rhinos at the water hole at Halili Camp. 
It is smaller than the white rhino and has two horns on the skull made of keratin, the larger horn in the front. It has a pointed and prehensile upper lip, used to grasp leaves and twigs in grazing, while the white rhino has square lips used to eat grass in browsing.  
This black rhino was off the main road northeast of the Rietfontein water hole and before the turnoff to Halili. It is the only one we saw during the day. We did see another one away from a water hole on an evening game drive that evening outside Halili. I'm assuming the front horn may have been removed by game managers to reduce the risk of poaching. 
The black rhino is extremely aggressive had has the highest rate of mortality from combat of any mammal, about 50% for males and 30% for females. They are very fast, reaching speeds of 34 miles per hour. 
A head-on view of the same black rhino. 

1 comment:

  1. It's hard to imagine one of these running 34 mph. It's too bad they are so shy. Aren't they bizarre looking? So prehistoric!