Black and white rhino stand-off

A video taken by tracker Eric of 2 black and white rhino bulls sizing each other up. A black rhino bull is about half to two thirds the size of a white rhino. Black rhinos feed on leaves and small twigs using their prehensile upper lips to grab the branches.  White rhinos feed on grass and have broad flat lips that grabs the grass working like a lawnmower. This difference in food preference keep them out of each others way as they are found in different habitats. Black rhinos frequent the denser woodland areas and white rhinos the more open grasslands.

Southern Africa is currently suffering under the worst drought for the past 100 years. Grazing and browsing is sparse in the Greater Kruger National Park and animals are walking out of their normal range in their quest to find sustenance. This brings animals that would normally avoid each other in contact with one another. White rhinos especially, are walking further north than usual, into the thick woodlands that are the domain of black rhinos as they hope to find grass neglected by other grazers or browsers.

These two bulls seem to have a curious fascination with each other. The smaller black rhino looks to be more aggressive as is their nature, but it could also just be an act to bluff his way out of a difficult situation. The black rhino turned tail and moved quickly away after a while.

There are about 20 000 white rhinos and only 4000 black rhinos left in the wild in Africa. White rhinos are one of the big conservation success stories of Africa with less than a 100 individuals of the southern white rhino subspecies left in the wild by the late 1800’s. Their numbers dropped quicker than the black rhinos through unsustainable hunting as they walk in the open grasslands whereas black rhinos were more difficult to find in the thicker woodlands. White rhino numbers were also naturally lower as more of Africa consist of thicker woodlands than open plains.

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