Tracking Dangerous Animals


The White Rhino is temperamentally quieter and more placid than the Black Rhino. It usually tends to run away, often circling downwind to investigate an intruder from a distance. There are, however, the odd White Rhino that may be dangerous, and may even track you down to charge you.

The Black Rhino, on the other hand, is known for its nervous, unpredictable temperament and can be extremely dangerous. This is particularly the case with bulls associating with receptive cows and cows with calves. Its eyesight is very poor, but its hearing and scent especially are good. When disturbed, it will stand still with its ears cocked and head raised. It may either utter a few snorts and trot away, or it may come at a lumbering gallop towards the intruder. Such a ‘charge’ may be merely to investigate a possible source of danger. Human scent will normally make rhinos move off, but their reactions depend on whether they have been hunted or molested or left in peace. In areas where rhinos have been disturbed they can become extremely vicious and dangerous. Black Rhinos also differ greatly in individual temperament. The rhino charges with its head held high in order to give it better vision, lowering the head in the last few paces to batter or throw the object of its rage.

When you encounter rhino, do not run away, but stand still and then move downwind. Meanwhile look for a suitable tree to climb. If there is no tree, slowly walk downwind and take off some article of clothing or rucksack to throw at it. If it charges, climb the nearest tree, or if there is no time, get behind it and freeze. If there is no tree, a rifle shot (into the air) or (at close quarters) a loud shout may make it swing away from you. If it still comes at you, then throw some article of clothing or rucksack at it to divert its attention before leaping sideways at the last moment so that it charges past you. If you lie perfectly still, it may lose interest and leave you alone. Black Rhino are very fast and agile, so do not risk a charge if you can help it.