Submitted by Lesley Cornish
On an HO duty in April, we were driving along, when we saw a quite large white rhino quite far off. So we stopped and did some monitoring. It took us a while to sex him, because he was facing us. We did see he was a male, and in this time he had walked closer to us. Task done, we drove off, and then noticed another larger white rhino, so we stopped to monitor him. While we were doing this, we noticed he was walking quite stiffly, which we had noticed before. Our first thoughts were too look for a snare. No, couldn’t see one, and the stiffness was getting worse.
What was going on, how could this be getting worse so quickly? Then we noticed that our first rhino had been walking closer all this time, but we were so busy trying to work out what was ailing our second rhino that we did not notice. Then, when rhino No. 2 started rubbing his chin on the ground and spraying urine (I only photographed the end of the spray), we realised that the stiff-legged walk was not about injury, but was rather about dominance.
The two rhinos approached, with the second bull scuffing up dust.
They both rubbed their lips on the ground, then ceased.
Several times, they came closer, then drew apart, then approached again, but without touching.
They seemed to be taking it in turns to back off at one stage, then the first rhino started to give way more.
After a few minutes, they both started grazing (displacement activity?).
Finally, they turned sideways to each other, and continued grazing, and the first rhino wandered off. Meanwhile, the second rhino, obviously the dominant bull, having proved his point, was miraculously cured of his stiff-leggedness!