Black Rhinos. Early one morning in the Lewa Conservancy in North Kenya we spotted these two male Black Rhinos with Mount Kenya in the background. The light was lovely as we watched these giants browsing on small bushes. They were very relaxed and paid no attention to us.
The Black Rhino (as it is commonly know) is a browser and their hooked lips reflect this feeding behaviour. In fact, this Rhino is more appropriately named the Hook-lipped Rhinoceros. This distinguishes it from the White Rhinoceros ( more appropriately named the Square-lipped Rhinoceros) which is a grazer and noticeably larger than the Black Rhino. Confusingly Black and White Rhinos are very similar in colour!
The Black Rhino is a formidable creature. It stands 1.6m high at the shoulder, can be more than 4m in length and weigh up to 1.400kg. The record for horn length in East African animals stands at 1.36m. Pretty much all the Black Rhinos we saw had unsightly lesions on their flanks. These can range from blackish patches to open, ulcerated wounds. These are caused by filarial worms and the lesions attract lots of flies. Interestingly, White Rhinos rarely get this infection.
The Craig family, who set up Lewa, have done an amazing conservation job in protecting the Black Rhinos, a critically endangered species. There is now a flourishing population of these magnificent animals. In this conservancy along with the neighbouring Borana conservancy there are about 238 Black and White Rhinos, representing some 13% of the Kenyan Rhino population. Save the Rhino!