Activity around a rhino that was unfortunately poached

It is always extremely sad news when we hear that yet another Pilanesberg Rhino has been murdered at the hands of poachers. It is always a heartbreaking thing to see and for us to share but people need to know that this is the harsh reality of what is happening to South African wildlife.

This bull white rhino was killed close to the road and for a few days, there were a number of visitors around the sight. Even some vultures came to investigate which is a rare sighting for us.

This is how we love to see our rhinos and should be the way we all get to see them for now and many years to come. The Pilanesberg Wildlife Trust and counter poaching team do all that they can to try and prevent a tragedy like this from happening. They have to rely on donations to do what they need to which means that every cent counts.

What is the difference between the black and white rhino? Updated

In the photo below we see the Black rhino on the left and White rhino on the right.

Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis)

White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum)

*There are two types of rhino in Africa – the black rhino and the white rhino.

*Don’t let the name fool you, rhinos are grey in color not black or white as their names suggest. One of the theories is that the term white rhino is a mistranslation;
the Dutch settlers in South Africa initially called them “Weid mond rhino”, meaning “Wide-mouth rhino.”

*They should be referred to as the square-lipped (white) and hook-lipped (black) rhinoceros.

*Rhinos have poor eyesight but they make up for this with an acute sense of hearing and smell.

*Both the black and white rhinos have two horns.

*A rhinos gestation period is around 15-16 months with the female giving birth to only one calf at a time.

White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum)

*The white rhino is a grazer with a wide mouth best designed for eating grass.
*It is not unusual to see White rhinos in a herd called a “Crash” of Rhinos (Make them run and you will know why).
*White rhinos are heavier then black rhinos with bulls weighing up to 2 300kg.

Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis)

*Black rhino’s are browsers, using their pointed upper lip to grasp leaves and twigs.
*Black rhinos are more solitary, being seen most often on their own.
*Black rhinos can reach up to around 1 000kg.

Rhinos use their horns for self-defense against predators and fighting off opponents.
The horns are the reason that the species overall are classified as Critically Endangered.
This is due to the demand of rhino horn on the black market for medicinal use in the Far East.
The horns are ever-growing at a rate around 6 cm a year.

Want to see these amazing animals up close? Why not do your bit to help the Rhinos and take part in Rhino notching:

Rhino darting – Something special

Most of us know about the plight of the Rhino.

Both the black and white rhino populations, along with other mammals, are in huge trouble of being wiped out. The thought of Africa no longer being home to “The Big Five” is something really unsettling to think about, yet this is the reality of what is happening every day. Often one can feel helpless and wonder what they can do to help. This is part of what Rhino notching is all about, getting to help be a part of something that goes a long way to helping our precious Rhinos here in Pilanesberg.

The Group being briefed on the proceedings for the morning and all about the Rhinos.

Some of our guides ready for the adventure to begin.

The chopper is ready with the Vet and pilot.

Getting ready to go and look for an un-notched Rhino.

The Rhino has been darted by the vet in the chopper, waiting for the drug to take full effect.

Once the Rhino is down a cover is put over its eyes and plugs are put in its ears in order to help make it a less stressful situation for the rhino.

While the Vets and everyone are doing the notching, taking DNA samples etc everyone gets to have a closer look at these magnificent animals.

The Rhino is given the reversal drug and everyone gets back into the vehicles to watch as the Rhinos wake up.

And just like that the Rhinos are awake, they regroup and head off again.


For more information on this adventure please visit our website:

The story of Ike, an ultimate survivor

The story of Ike has been an emotional one that has touched all who have been following it, especially those who have had the privilege of being involved in his journey.

Almost a year ago Ike was discovered by Mankwe GAMETRACKERS operations manager at the time Frank Bouwer, Steve Dell and others while doing a foot patrol through the park. They found Ike wondering around with other rhinos but they could clearly see that his horns had been removed and only wounds remained.

Steve Dell called Rhino-Saving the Survivors, and requested their assistance to help get this boy the treatment he so desperately needed. A helicopter was brought in to find and dart the rhino so that assessment of his wounds and treatment could get underway. It was decided to call him “Ikanyega” – Meaning to put my trust in you, and that is exactly what this young rhino had to do.

A view of Ike from the helicopter just before he was darted. You could tell that his horns had been hacked off by poachers.
On assessing Ike’s wounds it was thought that this poaching incident had happened about two months before he was found. He had a bad infection that had even spread to the bone.

As if he hadn’t been through enough they discovered two bullet wounds and a slash from what is thought to be a punga on this poor animal. The fact that he survived all of this is just phenomenal.

The wound was cleaned and the damaged bone removed, as much as possible, Dr Steenkamp put strips of calcium-alginate on Ike’s wounds to assist the healing process as well as special medical honey. Ike had to have a special cast bolted over his face to protect his wounds and keep the healing materials in place for as long as possible. He was moved to a safe place in order to be monitored and for treatment to continue.

Ike has a strong will to survive and his wounds have been healing well, even after he removed his cast more than once.
Even the wound where the punga had cut him has healed well.
Ike had healed so well that part of his horn had even started to grow back. Due to the extensive damage caused by the poachers it was growing back in a strange pattern. Even this little stump is of value and would make him vulnerable to poachers yet again. It was for those reasons that a decision was made to surgically remove the piece of horn in such a way that it will not grow back. Some of the Mankwe GAMETRACKERS team had the privilege of assisting in the process.

The team moving Ike into a suitable space.

An anesthetic injection to numb the area

Cleaning of the area has to be done to avoid infection

Ike’s front foot, you can clearly see his three toes

The wound after the horn stump was removed
Placing new dressing on the wound
Placing the protective cast over the dressing
Bolting the protective cast in the hope that Ike won’t remove it
Checking everything

Ike’s journey is not yet over, he has a long road ahead which will hopefully end with him being relocated to an area with some females where he can start a new and better chapter of his life. The Mankwe GAMETRACKERS team would like to wish this ultimate survivor the best of luck. We would also like to commend Steve and Perry Dell and the rest of the Pilanesberg National Park Wildlife Trust team for the phenomenal work that they do. The Saving the Survivors team are doing amazing work, Ike’s story is just the tip of the iceberg in a battle that they deal with everyday.

Translate »