We heard so many heartbreaking stories about rhino poaching yesterday. It’s worse than imagined, with the rhinos even in African national parks like Kruger being slowly massacred. It’s all so stupid and greed-driven that I can’t be rational about it. Poachers (and their higher-ups, the ones driving the market for rhino horn) should be gunned down on the spot. Or imprisoned and their keratin fingernails and toenails (same dumbass substance as rhino horn) should be ripped out every time they grow back, ad infinitum. I wish them all eternal kidneystones.
So it was a surprise that we encountered a couple of rhinos as we were leaving the park yesterday. They’re big gentle giants. This guy has had his horn filed down by park rangers, but even that won’t deter poachers, who will simply chain saw the remaining horn off the snout and condemn them to a slow painful death bleeding out.
Apparently COVID accelerated the demise of rhinos in a big way. Tourists left the parks, rangers absent too, so poachers came in and slaughtered at will during 2020 and 2021. Rhinos are an uncounted victim of COVID-19. Fuck.
It’s things like this that make me a hard-core cynic with regards to humanity. Individuals can and will be wonderful. But in groups and as a species, we are tragically flawed.
It’s late, I’m tired, but it’s worth noting that our first safari day was a huge success. In only one day in the Kruger Park, we saw pretty much everything. Lions, hippos, giraffes, elephants, hyena, water buffalo, crocodiles, zebra, and an infinite number of impala. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the day.
These elephants walked out of the forest and scared all the hippos into the water. Elephants take no shit from anyone.
In a different location we managed to get close to this guy. He was part of a small “ostracized mature male” group. The matriarchs of the larger family groups won’t put up with any old man elephant shit.
And this pair of lions…wow!
Lots more good pics to share, but these are some standouts. More of the same tomorrow.