Saturday, 18 June 2016

Is that Bigfoot? No it's a black rhino (It really is, I promise!)

Bigfoot or a black African Rhino
While this photo looks like some forged, far off, out of focus picture that people bring out to show the existence of Bigfoot, I can absolutely assure you that this a genuine photo of a Black African Rhino. I promise. Even if James did accuse it of being a hippo when he first looked at it through the binoculars, our guide was quick to correct him: 'no no that is a rhino, my friend'. Judging by the other tourists in the vicinity, he was not the only guide who was convinced!

Everyone trying to spy the rhino! (I became very
jealous of those with the huge camera lenses at this point)
There are only 27 rhinos in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania, which covers 8,292 sq kilometres and only just over 5,000 in the world. Ngorongoro is one of best places to see them in the wild. And numbers are growing thanks to conservation efforts here. Adult rhinos have no real predators, but up to about the age of 5, young black rhinos are at risk of being eaten by a lion. In Ngorongoro, the rangers are helping to guard the young rhinos from lions, acting as rhino bodyguards, until they are too big for lions to chance their luck. 

This is particularly important our guide explained, as it takes quite a long time for rhinos to reproduce. The gestation period of the rhino is 15 months and rhinos only have one calf at a time. Female rhinos only have their first calf at around the age of 6 and so all in all if one baby rhino does get eaten by a lion, it is a real loss to the population. On top of that the silly male rhinos like to fight and have the highest rate of death among mammals of the same species. With only 27 of them in Ngorongoro, I doubt they come across each other often enough for this to be a problem!

To be fair to our guide (and all the other guides who stopped to show their groups the rhino), when it turned to the side, if you looked through the binoculars and squinted a bit, you could definitely see its horn! And I think James did a very good job at getting the photo he did above.

I feel privileged to have seen it, if only from afar and look forward to the day when there are many more rhinos roaming the African plains - as long those males don't keep running in to each other!

To find out more about how you can help rhinos worldwide, Save the Rhino is a charity dedicated to rhino conservation.

Related posts
Trip report - Tanzanian Safari
The Hippo Pool - Ngorongoro Crater
Doors of Zanzibar
Arabian nights in Stone Town

A Hole In My Shoe


  1. That's so cool! How fortunate you were to be able to see this rare rhino. It always depresses me to think about how many species have been driven to (or are on the brink of) extinction by human actions - they make it difficult enough for themselves as it is! Glad that some progress is being made.

    1. Yes it was lovely to hear about the conservation efforts in Ngorongoro. And so pleased to have been able to have seen it if only if we saw it from so far away.

  2. What a wonderful experience for you - even though it was so far away. When we go on safari (some day soon, I hope), my husband intends to rent an uber-long camera lens. He thinks it would come in handy for opportunities like this. I'm guessing your guide took you as close as possible. How close to the rhino did you get?

    1. Yes definitely need a big lens. Binoculars too. It was quite far away. Could only just about to see it with the naked eye. We couldnt really get any closer as there were 'roads' through the park and it was quite far off the 'road'.