The Black Rhinoceros is almost gone. Decimated by poaching and with loss of habitat, Black Rhino's may disappear from the face of the Earth before we really get to know them. Said to be one of the most dangerous animals in Africa and a member of the Big Five, the Black Rhino's habits and behavior has not been studied enough. The endangered status is focusing enormous attention on the Black Rhino, but there has not been enough time to get past all the tales and scientific study and get to the real Nature of the Beast.
The Black Rhino's outrageous reputation for mischief could be in fact only a mask for the animal's reaction to circumstances. A charging Rhino may be the case of a very nearsighted animal wanting to get up close and inspect with it's horn or perhaps the animal is protecting young or in another instance it simply does not want to be interfered with.
The ideal would be to protect these animals and save them for posterity while learning everything we can about them. As one of the five species of Rhino left on Earth, Black Rhinos are the last of their kind and cannot be replaced
September 2 to October 15, 1997
The black rhino came trotting out of the deep bush and into an opening. He stopped abruptly when he saw the vehicle. With his short eyesight he could only make out a dim outline but his sharp hearing and acute sense of smell told him that there was man nearby. His curiosity to investigate was inhibted by his naturally shy nature. He stared, he stepped back and disappeared behind a bush and then stepped out again. Trotting quickly he went into the bush and hid again. He made a brief mock charge but stopped shortly and just stared. Presently with his curiosity abated, he turned and went into the deep bush.
This was all the photographer got from days of looking for black rhino. A few brief moments viewing one of the world,s most endangered animals.
Again and again the photographer tried but there was only one more encounter with a black rhino. This was in a different reserve, at a different time of day and a view of a black rhino at much closer range. The rhino was wary and curious like the first one. He stepped forward only to back off and hide behind a bush and peer out at the strangers. Getting brave he came out of hiding and moved forward. Not a charge but a careful attempt to view the intruders to his environment. At last satisfied that there would be no harm done he retreated to his home in the deep bush of the African continent.
Leah Niemoth Studio
April 24, 1999