Archive for Rhino

Wildlife Photography Workshop: Show the Beauty

Posted in Wildlife Photography Workshop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2010 by photoafrica

If you look around bookstores and the internet, you are bound to find quite a bit of black and white wildlife photography.

It’s easy to see why.

By removing color from an image, especially with a wild subject, we cut through all the emotion and distractions.  You see a world of textures and shapes.  You see the real subject.

Black and white photography also brings with it a sense of the past.  A sense of nostalgia.  It reminds us of a bygone era or, if things keep going like it is, a species that we used to see in the wild places of Africa.

Black Rhino © Gerry van der Walt

As of 14 November 2010, 285 of these amazing animals have been poached in South Africa this year.

That means that one rhino gets killed every 27.5 hours.

One rhino… every 27.5 hours!

White Rhino © Gerry van der Walt

As wildlife photographers, I feel it is our duty and privilege to photograph these amazing animals, not only to show the beauty of these ancient-looking members of Africa’s Big 5, but also to raise awareness.  We must show the beauty that is being destroyed all around us.  Our images might soon be all that is left of an amazing animal.

For me, black and white images show the real subject and brings emotion.  It shows what we have now.  Let’s try, and hope, that we can keep it that way.

White Rhino © Gerry van der Walt

If you have any images of rhino why not share them on the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day facebook page.

Let’s show the beauty of the animal, the beauty of nature.  Let’s show the fragile nature of an animal we will hopefully see in the wild places of Africa for a long time to come!

Yeah, not our normal wildlife photography post but I have just returned to the Madikwe Game Reserve where I manage a lodge and the reality of the rhino poaching hits home hard after being away for a few weeks.

Share your images.  Show the beauty!

I’ll be back next week with a, hopefully, more upbeat post!

Gerry van der Walt


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Happy Birthday Bush Warriors!

Posted in About, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2010 by Dori G

Note: Please play this MUST SEE video and enjoy.  This is what is at stake!



A year ago on November 13th, Bush Warriors was first launched into to the world.  This was my attempt to put the truth out there of what is really going on with our world’s wildlife.  Everyone loves nature and wildlife.  We all love lions, tigers, bears and dolphins.  We even love sharks, though we were taught to be afraid of them.  Wildlife and nature is gaining more popularity than ever, everywhere you look “a green lifestyle” is the new trend.  ‘Organic’ and ‘nature’ are buzz words surrounding corporate board rooms, the way we live,  and the food we eat.  It’s all about ‘going back to nature’.

The sad and unfortunate reality is that we are just about as far from nature as we can get.  In fact, we, as humans, are getting further from it by the minute.  Despite the growing popularity of the ‘green revolution’, species continue to be lost at unprecedented rates.  The fight to save species is not small or easy.  Many challenges block the path to success, including corruption, economics (both poverty and wealth), overconsumption of our natural resources, consumerist demand, and societal values.

Photo by Takeshi Igarashi

We live in a world where biodiversity is given due attention only when it is deemed profitable or there is some underlying financial interest in saving it.  Some even say, “What is the point in spending well needed funds on animals we know will be extinct from their natural habitat in a generation or two?”

If we truly open our eyes to see what has happened to the world around us, we will not be able to live with ourselves and the destruction of our planet that we cause on a daily basis.  Plastic bags that help us carry food from stores are killing our sea turtles, as they  are being mistaken for jellyfish.  Palm oil, as harmless as it sounds, is a real killer to many of our earth’s forests and all that inhabit them.  Yet it is widely used to give our foods a longer shelf life, so that we may enjoy our microwave popcorn.  The cost of palm oil is not just the cost of cheap, processed foods.  It is also costing us majestic creatures, like orangutans.  Valuable components of an ecosystem that also display many similar emotional and social behavior as us humans.  Now they slip into the brink of extinction and are being used, abused and slaughtered, while their natural habitat is replaced by palm oil plantations.

Rhinos and elephants, animal icons that we love so much, are systematically being murdered for their horns and tusks. In fact is its estimated that 102 elephants are being killed a day. That is almost a kilometer (over half a mile) of dead elephants on a daily basis.

Photo Credit: Michael Nicols

Since 1997, 353 new species have been discovered in the Himalayas, 1,220 in the Amazon and 1,231 in the Mekong region.  Our world has such a rich biodiversity,  and yet, with all of our knowledge and growing understanding of how fragile our ecosystems are, we are losing species before they are even discovered.

We citizens of the world must unite in a unified global voice saying, “Enough is enough.”  We must put a stop to the war taking place on our wildlife and natural world.  If we don’t, it will be lost for good and we will also lose ourselves in the process.

We need your help is educating and spreading the word. Please join our growing Bush Warriors global tribe in spreading the message.  We have created the Bush Warriors Ambassadors program that gives you tools for five second online advocacy.  All you need to do is paste our blurbs and links on your Facebook, Myspace, email, or any other social platform, and you are done. By doing this you have become an ambassador for change.

We have already grown so much in our first year, and plan to push harder and reach more people in our coming years.  Join us in our efforts and step up to be a voice for wildlife today!

Asante Sana

Dori & The Bush Warriors Clan

25 Things You Might Not Know About Rhinos

Posted in Africa: Rhinos, Asia: Rhinos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2010 by Bush Warriors

The fascinating rhino facts below are brought to you by International Rhino Foundation. Enjoy!

1. A group of rhinos is called a ‘crash’.

Crash of white rhinos.

2. White rhinos aren’t white (and black rhinos aren’t black). The white rhino’s name is taken from the Afrikaans word describing its mouth: ‘weit’, meaning ‘wide’. Early English settlers in South Africa misinterpreted the ‘weit’ for ‘white’.

3. Rhinos are fast! They can run up to 30–40 miles per hour, which may not sound like much, but if one is running straight towards you it feels like a NASCAR race car is coming your way.

Credit: Chris Wildblood

4. Rhino pregnancies last 15-16 months. Yikes!

5. A rhino’s skin is much softer than it looks, and is actually quite sensitive to sunburns and insect bites (that’s why rhinos like rolling in the mud so much – it helps to protect them from the sunburns and insects).

Credit: Pietie

6. Contrary to the common myth, there is no evidence that rhinos stamp out forest fires!

7. The white rhino is the largest rhino (and the largest land mammal after the elephant) – they can weigh up to 6,000 pounds. The Sumatran rhino is the smallest rhino, weighing in at a mere 1,300–2,000 pounds.

Sumatran rhinos.

8. Rhinos have poor eyesight, but very well-developed senses of smell and hearing (and they will charge at you when startled – the best way to escape is by climbing a tree, if one is handy!).

9. African rhinos have a symbiotic relationship with oxpeckers, also called ‘tick birds’. In Swahili, the oxpecker is called ‘askari wa kifaru’, which means ‘the rhino’s guard’. The oxpecker eats ticks and other insects it finds on the rhino, and creates a commotion when it senses danger.

Rhino with an oxpecker.

10. Most rhinos use piles of dung to leave ‘messages’ for other rhinos – nuances in the smell of dung can tell a rhino a lot about others in the area. Each rhino’s smell identifies its owner as unique – the smell is different for young vs adult animals, for males vs females, and females in estrus vs non-reproductive females. Combined with urine left along trails, dung piles create invisible ‘borders’ around a rhino’s territory.

11. Rhinos have existed on earth for more than 50 million years, and once roamed throughout North America and Europe (as well as Asia and Africa).

12. Throughout their history, rhinos have been a very diverse group. The extinct rhino Paraceratherium was the largest land mammal that ever lived, and resembled a big, muscular giraffe. Telecoeras was a single-horned, hippo-like grazer common in North America.

13. The book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W.W. Denslow, differs a lot from the movie classic, and actually has a reference to rhinos. Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion each get to meet the Wizard individually and he appears differently to each one of them. To Dorothy he appears as a huge head, to the Scarecrow as a beautiful woman, to the Lion as a great ball of fire, and to the Tin Man as a terrible beast. The beast is described as such, ‘It was nearly as big as an elephant, and the green throne seemed hardly strong enough to hold its weight. The Beast had a head like that of a rhinoceros, only there were five eyes in its face. There were five long arms growing out of its body and it also had five long, slim legs. Thick woolly hair covered every part of it, and a more dreadful-looking monster could not be imagined.’ Somehow, this never made it to the film version.

14. Three of the five surviving rhino species (black, Javan and Sumatran) are Critically Endangered, which means there is at least a 50% chance that these species will become extinct within three generations (for rhinos, this means about 30-60 years).

Java rhinos, credit: International Rhino Fund of New Zealand

15. The ancient woolly rhino, whose entire body was covered in a thick, shaggy coat, was hunted by early humans and is depicted in cave paintings dating back more than 30,000 years ago. The Sumatran rhino is the closest living relative of the extinct woolly rhino (and they’ve got the hair to prove it!).

16. The black rhino has a prehensile lip which allows it to feed on trees and shrubs (the other African species, the white rhino, has a long, flat lip for grazing on grasses).

 See the Black Rhino’s narrowed lip designed for browsing?

17. The Javan rhino is the rarest land mammal in the world. Less than 50 individuals survive in only two locations (Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam and Ujung Kulon National Park) in Indonesia.

18. Not all rhinos are solitary – both black and white rhinos commonly live in extended family groups (particularly females and calves).

19. Rhino horn is not used as an aphrodisiac in traditional Asian medicine. It is actually used to reduce pain and fever, although there is no scientific evidence to support this usage, and of course, it is illegal.

20. Sumatran, black and white rhinos all have two horns, Javan and greater one-horned rhinos have one horn (and some female Javan rhinos don’t appear to have a horn at all).

21. The most famous piece of rhino artwork is Albrecht Durer’s woodcut, ‘The Rhinoceros’, printed in 1515. It (not entirely accurately) depicts a greater one-horned rhino sent as a gift from the King of Portugal to Pope Leo X, and has been reprinted countless times over the past 500 years.

22. The word rhinoceros comes from the Greek rhino (nose) and ceros (horn).

23. Depending on the species, rhinos can live to between 35 and 50 years old.

24. Rhino horns are made of keratin, the same material that makes up your hair and fingernails.

25. The closest living rhino ‘relatives’ are tapirs, horses and zebras.

Visit to learn more about rhinos and rhino conservation.

One-Horned Rhinos, only 435 left!


Posted in Africa: Rhinos, Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2010 by Dori G

Devastated by the poaching frenzy of the 1980’s, black rhino populations are dangerously close to extinction. This period of heavy poaching killed off 98% of the black rhino population and saw the massacre of some 90,000 elephants in Tanzania’s 50,000 km² Selous Game Reserve, the second largest area of the world set aside for wildlife (second only to Antarctica). Today, just barely over 100 of these rhinos are left in this World Heritage Site. Their prized horns are highly valuable in the black market and are used in the Middle East and Asia for medicinal and ornamental uses.Only man is to blame for this atrocity, and it is only man who can reverse the situation. When trying to establish a safari lodge within the Selous Reserve, Lizzy Theobald recognized the immediate need for conservation action to save this rhino species and founded the Kidai Rhino Project in 1995.

Tragically, her vision was cut short two years later when malaria claimed her young life. Her legacy lives on through the Selous Rhino Trust formed in 2000, having one key goal: “to stop the black rhino from becoming extinct in the Selous Game Reserve”. The Trust works with the Tanzanian Wildlife Division to form the Selous Black Rhino Protection Project, a team of twelve rangers and rhino specialists committed to protecting the rhinos (and other wildlife) from poachers. The remote nature of the Reserve and its rough terrain gives poachers many places to hide and makes locating their activities challenging. To overcome this obstacle, the Project uses aerial surveillance and monitoring to identify poaching threats. When found, location information is radioed down to a team on the ground who moves in to apprehend the poachers. The use of aircraft allows for vast tracts of land to be covered in a timely fashion, while also serving as a deterring reminder of the team’s presence.

(Credit: Piet Payer)

There have been no signs of rhino poaching in the last four years at the Reserve, but signs of elephant and hippo poaching are increasing despite the committed efforts of this brave team. Aerial monitoring also aids in the Trust’s surveying activities by identifying prime rhino habitat and quantifying the number of rhinos within the Reserve. Areas identified by air are then surveyed and studied extensively by a team on foot. The Trust also conducts monitoring activities to identify population numbers and to track movements of individual rhinos across the Reserve. On the ground, rangers rarely see the rhinos, but seeing them is not necessary to estimate the size of their population. They use two non-invasive techniques to achieve this task. Dung is collected for DNA analysis, which identifies individuals, their sex, and allows for genetic linkages to be made between individuals. However, DNA analysis is an expensive and lengthy process. Another way to identify individuals on the spot with minimal costs is by tracing rhino footprints.

(Credit: Brandon Daniel)

Each rhino has a distinct footprint, and, when found, the team traces the print onto a transparency sheet and compares it to all previously-catalogued footprints. This allows the team to determine if the rhino is a new individual or is one they already know about. Many of Selous Rhino Trust’s methods and techniques have not been used before in Tanzania, but it is because of the rangers’ developed skills and knowledge of these techniques that their efforts have been so successful. Ranger training takes place at the ranger post, and the Trust often works with other rhino organizations and programs to share ideas and skills. If it weren’t for the Selous Rhino Trust, the Reserve’s black rhino population would undoubtedly be gone. The actions of these brave rangers and their dedication to preserving this majestic species gives hope to keeping the unique and rich Selous Game Reserve wholly intact.

(Credit: Fernando Quevedo)

To learn more, please visit their website

How Poachers Became Caretakers…..

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2010 by Dori G

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou

It is no secret the poaches know animals best. Here is a fantastic TED lecture by  John Kasaona,  a Namibian conservationist who is working on an innovative way to protect endangered animal species  giving nearby villagers (including former poachers) responsibility for caring for the animals. And it’s working and everyone is happy…. Take a look at the video below:

To learn more about John’s organization Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) and their fantastic projects….. CLICK HERE

Organization of The Day: Gorilla Doctors

Posted in Africa: Primates, Organization of The Day, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2010 by Dori G

Today only 720 Mountain Gorillas populate the earth, and in only two parks (Uganda/Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of Congo). Dr. Dian Fossey founded what was originally called the Volcano Veterinarian Center in 1986. After studying Gorilla’s behavior and interaction with their environment she discovered that their population was declining rapidly, likely due to their interactions with humans. She decided to start a Veterinarian project dedicated to the Gorillas. Sadly she did not live to see the success, but today the project is known as Gorilla Doctors.

After years of research, scientists found that the secret to saving the lives of these animals existed within medical care. The largest threat facing these animals is disease, contracted through interaction with humans, other animals, and factors of their environment. Their research has found that people, mountain gorillas, and cattle share genetically identical intestinal pathogens, making them susceptible to diseases.

The Gorilla Doctors are a team of highly talented vets who intervene when needed and help nurse the Gorillas back to health. Seeing as the health of the Gorillas depends on the health of the people interacting with them, Gorilla Doctors also provide health care for their employees. Within the last ten years they have been able to increase the population of the Mountain Gorillas by 17%, and only hope to increase that number. These veterinarians are fully dedicated to their research, which has been groundbreaking, and to the survival of these precious gentle giants.

To learn more, please click here…..

Organization of The Day: Lewa Conservancy

Posted in Africa: Elephants, Africa: Lions, Africa: Primates, Africa: Rhinos, Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2010 by kendickjerkins


Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

During the 1970s population of black rhinos had dropped from 20,000 to fewer than 300, putting these animals in danger of becoming extinct. Since then, thanks to the Lewa Conservancy, over 40,000 acres has been dedicated to over 70 different animals. Since the 1970s Lewa has been able to double the population of rhinos! Lewa also lends a helping hand to the surrounding communities.

Their annual safaricom marathon has helped raise over 2,000,000, they have been able to build over 10 schools, establish forestry programs, support hospitals, provide free treatment to those injured by wildlife, as well as put projects in place such as tracker dog units to help the conservancy. They have even started a womens micro-credit program. The surrounding communities are impoverished and this program gives these women a chance to become more independent. They are given the chance to train and become entrepreneurs, hoping to reduce poverty and facilitate gender equity. Lewa’s efforts not only help out the animals in need, but the people as well.

To Learn More, please visit their site