With the craving gnawing at my heart, it had been thirty days plus since I’d last seen a rhino. Just under forty-five minutes from Durban we arrived at Tala, amidst the thick mist from the drizzling rain. Resistance is futile when a craving is upon thee… After paying our dues at the gate we headed up the hill to the right in search of Tala Private Game Reserve’s gems: five adult rhinos. Okay, we cheated a little and asked the guard at the gate where they were last spotted.
And there they were… Five large, healthy rhinocerotidaes (commonly known as rhinoceroses) huddled together on a mound of earth, resting while the rain gently fell. We spent about thirty minutes watching them stretch and roll over, as though their comfort in the damp truly mattered.
After exploring the reserve, relishing a packed breakfast at the Hippo Hide, a coffee at the restaurant’s veranda and bouncing along the 4×4 only tracks, we returned to the rhinos up and about munching their way through the grass. Such spectacular creatures!
As I’ve previously published a post on Tala Private Game Reserve about a year ago, I shall keep this one brief. About three weeks after my previous visit at Tala the newspaper informed me that two out of the three rhinos were wretchedly poached. And we were now fortunate to view five of the precious, prehistoric looking beasts that freely, as freely as possible, roam the reserve. Two men on quad bikes carried a rifle each to protect the rhinos, following them all over the reserve, 24 hours every day; sad but necessary.
If the people in power carry on turning a ‘blind eye’ (and filling their pockets) to the poaching in Africa, almost six-thousand rhinos slaughtered since 2008, the under twenty-five thousand remaining rhinos could be extinct within ten years.
Rhinos belong in Africa! Prevent the rhinos having to be airlifted to Australia (where ‘The idea, Ray Dearlove says, is to create an “insurance population” that can breed in peace, far from poachers — and guarantee the species’ survival if slaughter causes their extinction in the African wild.’) and enforce the “shoot to kill” policy in South Africa as imposed by both Botswana and Zimbabwe.