Last Sunday we watched as two white rhino bulls battled it out for dominance in a fight so intense it attracted two younger rhino spectators. During the fight, they produced an amazing range of sounds, such as puffing, growling, hissing and squeaking which they made continuously. Even the spectators joined in making noises, which made me think that they too had a vested interest in the outcome of the battle. Perhaps they were related to one of the bulls? Or, could they sense the ousting of one of them being a possible benefit?
Through the dust cloud, it was not always possible to see who, if anyone, was getting the upper hand. However, what was clear is that both the rhino had made a clear decision to take each other head on! There was nothing half-hearted about this fight. It appeared the battle had started some time before we arrived on the scene. I could see blood oozing from stab wounds on both their heads. At one point, the one of them started to push the other closer and closer to our Land Rover in an apparent tactic to corner his opponent. After ten minutes, the battle moved into a thicket on the edge of a drainage line in which we thought was not safe to enter since manoeuvring a Land Rover in there would have been tricky. I did not wish to be trapped in a thicket with four tonnes of angry pachyderms flinging each other around. Slowly they moved down the slope, and the last thing I saw was a tree disappearing as it was flattened by one of the hostiles.
Below is a video clip I filmed of the territorial rhinos fighting for dominance.
Filmed and written by: Alex van den Heever