Today I was lucky enough to see two of our sub adult lions playing around and irritating a mother rhino and her calf. The whole thing started when we were following the two youngsters and their mom. The lioness walked straight past our vehicle and laid down for a rest. Quite a distance into the bush we noticed two rhinos standing, starting to settle down for the night. This off course got the attention of the 2 sub adults and brother and sister started stalking the rhinos side by side. Seeing that it was already dark and rhinos in general don’t have good eye sight the lions got to right next to them. The next moment the two jumped on the backs of the rhinos, holding on for dear life. (They did not make 8 seconds). The rhinos quickly got rid of the two inexperienced lions on their backs and stood back to back facing the lions. This game carried on for a few minutes before the rhinos decided that enough was enough and they chased the youngsters away.
I was sitting there still trying to take it all in when I suddenly realized: We’re the only real danger here. Although careful of the lions, the rhinos were never really scared or in danger at any stage. The only danger to them is the humans. They walk past us every day and don’t even realize that they are staring their biggest enemy in the face.
The number of rhinos poached in 2010 was 333. In March 2011 we’re already standing on 62. Where is this going? Will there be any rhinos left in a few years from now? I don’t think we realize how big this problem is and that it needs to stop. Where I used to just drive past a rhino and think that I’ll still see many, I now stop, look and appreciate.
By: Marilize Minaar – River Lodge Ranger