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  • Writer's pictureAngie Raab

Why?

Updated: Jan 26

"The scary thing is, that in my lifetime 95% of the world's rhinos have been killed." -mark carwadine

As the sun dipped below the African horizon, painting the savannah in hues of orange and pink, I sat on the back of a Land Cruiser, watching Bingo lead his crash of rhinos in the fading light. Little did I know that this idyllic scene would be etched in my memory as both a testament to the beauty of wildlife and a stark reminder of the brutal challenges faced by those fighting for their survival. Sibuya Game Reserve in South Africa opened its doors for us to witness this incredibly special crash of rhinos, with Bingo proudly at the helm. Docile and curious, he was often the target of playful bullying from his female companions. Scratches on his belly and wounds on his face were badges of honor in the rhino world. Yet, amid the comical scenes, Bingo's protective instincts shone through, especially when the sun bid farewell and the stars emerged. Rhino stealth mode, as witnessed during our nocturnal encounters, resembled a slow, deliberate tank maneuvering through the bush. Bingo, with a sense of determination, would follow our movements, ensuring that we meant no harm. It was during these moments that the understanding between human and rhino transcended the boundaries of species. On the final day while filming in Kenya, the phone call I dreaded, shattered the tranquility. Bingo and three female rhinos had fallen victim to poaching, leaving him blind and fighting for survival. The news cut deep, and in the following days, Bingo succumbed to the brutal assault. The rhino family, once vibrant and thriving, was forever altered by human greed.

The legacy of Bingo lived on in his offspring, two orphans who found refuge in Shamwari Game Reserve's sanctuary. Raised by caretakers, they blossomed into thriving youngsters, embodying the resilience of their kind. A visit to witness their joyous existence was bittersweet—a lump in the throat for the loss of Bingo and a celebration of survival. A piece of keratin, falsely believed to possess medicinal properties, claimed the life of a majestic creature. In a world where rhinos face extinction, Bingo's story stands as a poignant cry against the illicit trade that threatens these gentle giants. (photos: bog photography, clare james photography, sibuya game reserve)


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