Black Rhino

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Diceros bicornis. Africa has two species of rhinoceros, the “black” and the “white” rhino. Experts disagree on the origin of the two names, and there has been an effort to change these colloquial terms to something else. This is because the “black” rhino is dangerous and shifty, and the “white” rhino is cute and well behaved. Therefore, there are racial undertones, although the origin of the names does not reflect this.

The Black rhino is not black. As with all rhinos, it is mud-colored or dust-colored because it likes to roll around in the mud/dust.

They are ecologically vastly different though their ranges typically overlap considerably. The black rhino, these days known as the “bush” rhino is a browser, meaning that it eats bushes.

black … bush … bushes … browser.

This particular rhino was rescued by the Walker family of South Africa … I believe its mother was the victim of poaching … and hand reared. For this reason, it became a docile member of the family and what would be called today an “ambassador rhino,” greeting guests at the Lapalala wilderness preserve, where it could be hand fed and patted on the head and so forth.

This photo is a few years old. Last time I was there, in July 2007, this rhino was gone. He had reached maturity, found his genetic roots, busted out of the enclosure and destroyed several of the guest’s cars in the parking lot.

He was rounded up and re-penned, but the South African animal police guys insisted that it be put down, so he is no longer with us.

Comments

  1. #1 Laelaps
    November 27, 2007

    And that was the last thing that Greg ever saw…

    Nice shot.

  2. #2 Monado
    November 27, 2007

    If I remember correctly, “white rhino” is a corruption of the Dutch for “wide rhino” because it has a broader snout. But I could be wrong and I’m too relaxed to look it up tonight.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    November 27, 2007

    Brian,

    You could spend all night looking it up and you could still be wrong. Or right. The story you give is version A, version B has to do with the first rhinos being sighted by someone being covered in white clay. Proponents of one insist the other is myth.

  4. #4 the real FranCisella
    November 27, 2007

    The cross cultural destructionists and the neo-racists would have us believe that anything said to be black or white imputes negative racial undertones…umm, like white lightening ( hangover provoking moonshine), and black eyed peas (delicious with cornbread, and Fergie is pretty hott too), or that black licorice is malevolence against Africans Americans.

    I wish they would all just use a little more white out in their revisionism, and maybe erase that whole false presumption of black and white being either positive or negative.