Black Rhinoceros or Hook-Lipped Rhinoceros or Diceros bicornis. It does not matter what you call it, it is immense, not black, has two horns, and is an endangered species.
During our safari back in 2015 at the Masai Mara in Kenya, we saw one, near nightfall. It was a dark blob in the murky distance. A black rhino we were told. Snap. Black on murky, certainly not worthy of a fine art photograph. We were also told they were very rare, an endangered species. Perhaps we were told this because our guides couldn’t find us any.
Enter Etosha where they know how to do Black Rhinos. At our lodge in the heart of Etosha, there is a waterhole where visitors congregate in a safe environment to watch the wildlife. It’s like Friday night high school football in Texas. On our first night we decided to take a quick look at the waterhole. We had a long day of driving on dusty dirt roads filled with dongas. We were tired and beaten up, close to pulverized. It was dusk by the time we arrived where we found a black rhino sipping an evening aperitif. Then there were two and then three. We spent the next 20 minutes shooting away. We saw a black rhino, up close! They were not only taking a drink but providing examples of interesting interpersonal behavior.
We were overjoyed. Watching black rhinos in their natural habitat was beyond exciting. The next evening we decided to go back to the waterhole again. We couldn’t believe it, there were two more black rhinos there for a drink. I guess these rhinos are habitual.
We watched them for awhile, not taking too many photos (we took enough the night before). Then something fascinating happened, a herd of elephants arrived. How cool is that? Rhinos and elephants together. Except that’s not what happened. As the elephants arrived, the rhinos high-tailed it out of there, snorting there disgust. Rhinos are big but elephants are bigger. I guess two big tusks is better than two small ones.
The more we watched it occurred to us this waterhole is very much like a local bar. The rhinos come for a drink, then the elephants. Was the third rhino named “Norm”?.