The Black Rhino & Wilbur Smith

Discussion in 'Diving, Collecting and Environmental Discussions' started by Alan, 9 Jul 2009.

  1. Alan

    Alan Admin MASA Contributor

    4 May 2007
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    Firstly i know this is in the wrong forum but i really wanted it to come up on the Home Page.
    For our international guests:There are many wonderful stories that come out of Africa esp when dealing with wild animals, this is a classic.
    WARNING: No liquids to be near keyboard when reading this.

    "The plight of the Black Rhinoceros is, or course, due mostly to the value of
    its horn and the ferocious poaching that this engenders. However, a
    contributory factor to the declining rhino population is the animals
    disorganized mating habits.

    It seems that the female rhino only becomes receptive to the male's
    attentions every three years or so, while the male only becomes interested
    in her at the same intervals. A condition known quite appropriately as
    "Must" The problem is one of synchronization, for their amorous
    inclinations do not always coincide.

    In the early Sixties, I was invited, along with a host of journalists and
    other luminaries, to be present at an attempt by the Rhodesian Game and
    Tsetse Department to solve this problem of poor timing.

    The idea was to capture a male rhino and induce him to deliver up that which
    could be stored until that day in the distant future when his mate's fancy
    turned lightly to thoughts of love.

    We departed from the Zambezi Valley in an impressive convoy of trucks and
    Landrovers, counting in our midst none other than the Director of the game
    department in person, together with his minions, a veterinary surgeon, an
    electrician and sundry other technicians, all deemed necessary to make the

    The local game scouts had been sent out to scout the bush for the largest,
    most virile rhino they could find. They had done their job to perfection
    and led us to a beast at least the size of a small granite koppie with a
    horn on his nose considerably longer than my arm.

    The trick was to get this monster into a robust mobile pen which had been
    constructed to accommodate him.

    With the Director of the Game Department shouting frantic orders from the
    safety of the largest truck, the pursuit was on. The tumult and the
    shouting were apocalyptic. Clouds of dust flew in all directions, trees,
    and vegetation were destroyed, game scouts scattered like chaff, but finally
    the Rhino had about a litre of narcotics shot into his rump and his mood
    became dreamy and benign.

    With forty black game guards heaving and shoving, and the Director still
    shouting orders from the truck, the rhino was wedged into his cage, and
    stood there with a happy grin on his face.

    At this stage, the Director deemed it safe to emerge from the cab of his
    truck and he came amongst us resplendent in starched and immaculately ironed
    bush jacket with a colourful silk scarf at this throat. With an imperial
    gesture, he ordered the portable electric generator to be brought forward
    and positioned behind the captured animal. This was a machine which was
    capable of lighting up a small city, and it was equipped with two wheels
    that made it resemble a roman chariot.

    The Director climbed up on the generator to better address us. We gathered
    around attentively while he explained what was to happen next.

    It seemed that the only way to get what we had come for was to introduce an
    electrode into the rhino's rear end, and to deliver a mild electric shock,
    no more than a few volts, which would be enough to pull his trigger for him.

    The Director gave another order and the veterinary surgeon greased something
    that looked like an acoustic torpedo and which was attached to the generator
    with sturdy insulated wires. He then went up behind the somnolent beast
    and thrust it up him to a full arms length, at which the Rhino opened his
    eyes very wide indeed.

    The veterinary and his two black assistants now moved into position with a
    large bucket and assumed expectant expressions. We, the audience, crowded
    closer so as not to miss a single detail of the drama. The Director still
    mounted on the generator trailer, nodded to the electrician who threw the
    switch and chaos reigned. In the subsequent departmental enquiry the blame
    was placed squarely on the shoulders of the electrician. It seems that in
    the heat of the moment his wits had deserted him and instead of connecting
    up his apparatus to deliver a gentle 5 volts, he had crossed his wires and
    the Rhino received a full 500 volts up his rear end.

    His reaction was spectacular. Four tons of rhinoceros shot six feet straight
    up in the air. The cage, made of great timber baulks, exploded into its
    separate pieces and the rhinoceros now very much awake, took off at a

    We, the audience, were no less sprightly. We took to the trees with alacrity.
    This was the only occasion on which I have ever been passed by two
    journalists half way up a Mopane tree.

    From the top branches we beheld an amazing sight, for the chariot was still
    connected to the Rhinoceros per rectum, and the director of the game
    department was still mounted upon it, very much like Ben Hur, the

    As they disappeared from view, the rhinoceros was snorting and blowing like
    a steam locomotive and the Director was clinging to the front rail of his
    chariot and howling like the north wind which only encouraged the beast to
    greater speed.

    The story has a happy ending for the following day after the director had
    returned hurriedly to his office in Salisbury, another male Rhinoceros was
    captured and caged and this time the electrician got his wiring right.

    I can still see the Rhinoceros's expression of surprised gratification as
    the switch was thrown. You could almost hear him think to himself. "Oh
    Boy! I didn't think this was going to happen to me for at least another
    three years".
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  3. Neil H

    Neil H Moderator MASA Contributor

    11 May 2008
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    WARNING: No liquids to be near keyboard when reading this.

    Heed the warning !!!!!!!
  4. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

    29 May 2007
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    Cape Town
    LOL Alan! This was REALLY AWESOME and funny! Thanks for sharing!
  5. H0nda42


    16 Jul 2008
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    Excellent Alan. Must admit it had me rolling!
    Wilbur Smith has a great way of describing things.
  6. Neil H

    Neil H Moderator MASA Contributor

    11 May 2008
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    is this an extract from his new book ?
  7. Alan

    Alan Thread Starter Admin MASA Contributor

    4 May 2007
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  8. crispin


    22 Jan 2008
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    Lilliehammer, Norway
    very funny:)
    i was walking with Clive walker in the waterburg a little while ago and he is very involved with black rhino conservation. there was a group of 7 of us, one fella on crutches as we scouted for a large male. Very calmly we hear Clive say from the front "Freeze, Rhino charging" So we ummmm stopped. Low and behold 5 secoinds later 3 tonnnes of prime muscle cater through a thorn bush and reduce ot to a pulp of ground herbs within 15m of us, then trotts off into the bush.

    I was rather shocked and surprised so questioned clive a little later. he replied that he saw him circling round down wind and knew of the charge, but they have very poor eyesight so its best to stand still. I swear the man was on drugs, but my adrenaline atleast wasnt brown, but darn near it.

    on a far sadder note at the same place they had a younge docile black rhino cow. Almost blind and basically a dwarf, she was placcid and loving having been hand reared at the education facility. She would grunt if you scratcghed under her chin, and roll over to have her tummy tickled. she had no horn, but a rounded stump she used as a sighting to figure out which way was forward. She was killed in her pen for 12cm of rounded stump:( i swear i see red thinking about it.
  9. DragonReef


    4 May 2007
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    Durban, ZA
    I'm crying with laughter !!!!!
  10. Mike

    Mike Retired Moderator

    12 May 2007
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    the Motherland
  11. riyadhessa


    21 Nov 2007
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    Cape Town
    Alan Excellent
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