user: pass:

Stone, L., 1993. Encounters of a rhino kind. REF News no. 9: 3, fig. 1

Location: Africa - Southern Africa - South Africa
Subject: Management
Species: Black Rhino

Original text on this topic:
Bwana of Lapalala. Black rhino are notorious for their temperament, quick to charge at the slightest provocation-for this reason it comes ' as no surprise, that they are well-respected inhabitants of the bushveld.
One seldom has the opportunity of coming face to face with a live black rhino but, in December 1992, Liza Sutcliffe, her daughters Olivia and Georgie, and I visited 'Bwana, the black rhino calf at the Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC), Pretoria.
The week before our visit Bwana had just settled.into a new boma and it took some coaxing from Karen Trendier of ARC before he emerged to see exactly what all the fuss was about. When it become clear that he was on his best behaviour, we went into the boma for a closer black rhino inspection. Bwana good-naturedly tolerated our petting and took the opportunity to use all available knees and legs as rubbing posts-participation in this vigorous activity is definitely not recommended for anyone wearing shorts!
After a while the little rhino began to frisk about totally unaware of his tank-like strength-the bull-dozing game was on! We soor) realised we were no match for the playful youngster and made a hasty retreat to the safety zone, outside the boma.
The visit wag both a privilege and an enlightening experience for us all, Bwana constantly made an almost pathetic bleating sound, described as 'mfee;, also made by adult black rhino. To the touch, the skin on a rhinos cheek is velvet-like, in total contrast to the thick, rough hide which covers the rest of its body. The prehensile lip is extremely mobile, rather like a finger, and Bwana had no problem in using it to manoeuvre a human finger into its mouth! If one considers that this young rhino weighs in at only 164 kilograms and is already so powerful, the effect of a charging adult weighing 900-1200 kg is not fiddicult to imagine. Although reared in captivity, we were reminded that this small package of dynamite deserves to be treatd with the same degree of respect as any other wild black rhino. Perhaps the most fascinating was bwana's behaviour. He exhibits the typical, playful behaviour of any young animal and is obviously very intelligent - as an example, we bore witness to him 'asking' Karen for his bottle. Bwana now drinks 18-21 litres of a special rhino milk formula a day. April 1993 will mark the start of another chapter in Bwana's life - he is to be relocated to Lapalala where he was born and placed under the watchful eye of the resident staff.

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