The BIG 5 will become the BIG 4
The Big 5
will become the big 4
A crackle comes across the radio “She’s down.”
“GO GO GO GO,” our ranger shouts.
Minutes later we are peering at a prone female rhinoceros whose calf is hovering in the scrub bushveld nearby.
Tranquilized with a powerful sleep agent from a helicopter by the chief veterinarian, the rhino will be inanimate for approximately 45 minutes. Enough time to embark on some of the most crucial rhinoceros conservation tasks – ear notching, insertion of tracking and monitoring devices, blood samples – as well as some basic health check-ups.
We help, in as much as we can, which is itself emotive, but the true impact of conservation comes when you touch, feel, smell and listen to this prehistoric looking beast. From a distance its skin looks like a patchwork of tectonic plates that have been stitched together. In reality, some areas are as soft as silk. From afar it appears to be a fearsome adversary when really it has vision that allows it a 5 yard (or less) range of vision, essentially blind to threats.
That is when you start to realize how much help the rhino needs to survive.
Work done, we scramble atop the land rovers as the mother stirs and the immediacy of her search for her calf is remarkable. Kind, protective, vulnerable. They amble into the scrub brush and vanish. A much preferable rhino experience than coming across a massacred carcass left by a poacher who has made off with the turn. Vicious cruelty personified.
Rhino conservation and the education surrounding it is one of the most meaningful platforms to incorporate into a trip to Africa and we relish the opportunity to extend this to clients who are looking to contribute to and support wildlife conservation at the very coalface.
Don’t be the one to tell your children that they are going to have to be content to see the BIG 4 and not the BIG 5 because we have witnessed the extinction of rhinos on our watch….