We are so proud to be able to celebrate World Rhino Day with our very own Thuza and Kusasa!
Thank you for celebrating them with us, along with the local people who are their neighbours and tourists coming from all parts of the world to see them.
The rhino is truly one of Africa’s most iconic species. Imvelo’s reintroduction of white rhino to Hwange National Park has broken ecological and sociological barriers and continues to pioneer a unique scheme to create sanctuary for rhino on community land. Guests staying at Bomani or Camelthorn lodges have thrilled to experience this species returned to its natural habitat. Yes, they are closely guarded – with horn worth more than its weight in gold on the black market, this is essential. But one unexpected benefit of the 24/7 guarding of our two recently arrived rhino is that they have become habituated to people on foot – although they remain shy of vehicles! With famously poor sight, rhino have extremely sharp senses of both smell and hearing. White rhino has the widest set of nostrils of any land-based animal, and their ears swivel 360 degrees independently to home in on strange sounds. Thuza and Kusasa have become familiar with the smell and voices of people, while conversely their own ‘panting’ vocalisation is unique to each animal, communicating with each other and now helpful to their human guards. Though built like a small tank, rhino are surprisingly agile and can reach speeds of up to 50 km/h (30 mph) – so being some few metres away on foot from up to 3 600 kg of muscle and horn will still get your pulse racing!
Closely monitored by veterinarians and ecologists, the experts are satisfied with the progress of Thuza and Kusasa since their arrival in their new Hwange home in May. The long 17 hour transfer across Zimbabwe was stressful, and they then lost some condition in the first few weeks as they adjusted to their new ecosystem. The sandy Kalahari topography of Hwange is very different to the south east of Zimbabwe with its heavy, fertile soils. White rhino will normally spend half the day feeding – they are the largest pure grazer in the world, favouring the nutritious low-growth grasses. Their arrival was at the start of our long, dry winter, and to assist them in getting settled in, we have supplemented their diet with supply of lucerne, Rhodes grass and ‘rhino cubes’ specially blended by local supplier National Foods. We have been monitoring them as if they were prize fighters getting ready for a major match – and happily can report they are shaping up as well as Ali ever did!
Contact us for more information on the CRCI project.