Tag Archives: Perissodactyla

Keep an eye on the prey: You’ll find the predator

In Robert Gardner’s documentary film Dead Birds, the men of a highland New Guinea village guard the perimeter of the territory, watchful for men of the neighboring group who may be intent on sneaking into the gardens to capture and kill an unwitting child or woman in order to avenge a prior death. But they don’t see the men sneaking through the dense riparian forest. They don’t even look for them. Rather, they see the birds fly from their preferred habitat where they are foraging or resting, startled into the open by … something. The birds belie the predator.
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Black Rhino

i-00ea261917e6c34222a759d07c3f74f7-black_rhino.jpgDiceros 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.