NAIROBI PARK DIARY

Battle of the bulls

Rhino bulls tend to have territory fights, especially over females

In Summary

• Life in the wild for white rhinos is tough enough without mankind killing them for their horns

Some time back, it was late in the afternoon as heavy rain clouds moved over the park. I decided to drive across the park and exit at Maasai gate.

As I approached junction 18A, suddenly, two huge shapes emerged over the hill in the middle of the road. It was two huge white rhino bulls in a fearsome fight. I stopped immediately as they continued to fight at the junction.

They made unusual noises that sounded a bit like a low-intensity elephant trumpet without a trunk, and also another strange squealing sound, plus a deep grumble, almost belly growl noise.

It was clear to me that this fight was in the final stages now, as both bulls were very tired and full of blood. Eventually, they stood opposite each other, gasping for breath, then one of them, with a sawn-off horn, turned and slowly walked off into the grass and began to graze as if nothing had happened. The other one continued to stand there in the road for some time longer.

As I drove away, less than 50m from the rhino’s, five lions sat on the edge of the road. They had no doubt heard all the noises and come to investigate, maybe hoping that one of them would be mortally wounded?

As I drove away, again I noted the rhino tracks in the road and measured a distance of over a kilometre that they fought in the road. Rhino bulls are known to have territory fights, especially when there are females involved.

Life in the wild for white rhinos is tough enough without mankind killing them for their horns. It takes about 16 long months for a single baby to be born after mating. It must have been quite a tough and hard battle.