Solitary, moody, aggressive, will charge with minimal provocation…. this is the typical stereotype of a black rhino, a species renowned for its anti-social nature.
However a new Sir David Attenborough wildlife documentary shows black rhinos gathering under the cover of darkness to socialise in large groups. The night-time footage used advanced night vision ‘starlight’ cameras, allowing filming to take place in pitch black darkness, with the rhinos shown in incredible detail. The filming was part of the new BBC series Africa documenting the marvels of the continents wildlife.
The filming shows never seen before footage of the rhinos ‘secret night time liaisons’ in which males, females, both young and old gather at a waterhole in in the Kalahari to socialise. Large groups of up to 16 rhinos at a time were filmed. The location of the waterhole is kept secret for security reasons.
The extraordinary footage shows rhinos greeting eachother by rubbing their noses and one scene even demonstrates a male rhino presenting a female with a pair of antelope horns to win her attention. Despite the gesture, the female rhino lies down pretending to be asleep.
Hidden microphones also detected rhinos calves delightful squeaking as they played with eachother, and snorts of the older adults as they greet one another.
As well as being a spectacular piece of filmaking, the clip shows black rhino behaviour that has never been documented before during the day, shedding a new light on the species.
Black rhinos are critically endangered, with only around 4,880 surviving in the wild. You can read more about black rhinos as a species by clicking here.
Click here to read more about the programmes Save the Rhino supports in Africa.
UK viewers can watch the full episode of Africa which features the rhino scenes, by visiting the BBC website
US viewers can watch the rhino clip on you tube, by copying the following link into your browser http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVgXYr752R4
Photo credit Maasai Preservation Trust, Renauld Fulconis