Today, on september 22, is World Rhino, Day, a day, that highlights and celebrates all five species of rhino: Black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan rhinos. Rhinos have become under tremendous pressure due to poaching. Despite being made of the same substance as our finger nils and hair (keratin), the demand for rhino horn is huge on some markets, as ingredients in some hocus pocus medicines that have no scientific proof to have any effect.
Because of this high demand, rhinos are murdered by well organized poachers. In 2017, at least 1028 rhinos were poached in South Africa, about three per day. That is a little less than the 1215 in 2014 but 9000 times higher than in 2007, when “only” 13 were poached.
We need to bring an end to this madness by highlighting rhinos and remembering how great they are to have around as living animals, not as horn-powder in some home made medicines with doubtful effects. I remember seeing my first rhino in Kruger National Park during June 2003. It was like having travelled back in time, like observing an ancient dinosaur in nature. Seeing this magnificent animal walking by, completely minding its own business, was a mixture of adrenaline, admiration and pure happiness. Since then, I have seen rhinos in different places in Africa, from safari vehicles, from a mountain bike and on foot during “bush walks”. This photograph is from Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve near Durban in South Africa, a magnificent place that I’d love to visit again anytime.
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I was surprised but pleased to see that there were some juvenile Sand Martins still busy chasing insects yesterday at RSPB Middleton Lakes! They’ll be migrating to Africa any time soon. I managed to get some consecutive burst shots and so have created a composite image. The second image just shows an enlargement of two of them. (1/2500th, f8, ISO 250, fl 560mm).