Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

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Africa » Uganda » Northern Region » Murchison Falls NP
July 13th 2012
Published: July 17th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Set out on a 3 day Safari centred around Murchison Falls in North Western Uganda. Our group of seven consisted of 3 English Uni students, 2 Austrians, an interesting Dane and myself. The Dane used to teach at Copenhagen U ... Turns out he's got a PhD in Pharmacology, a Masters in African Studies and a Bachelors in Health Services (?) And, he's a camera buff. The British Uni students were at Oxford and Birmingham studying math and chemistry (general science) and the third was just starting uni in September.

Our first stop on the way to Murchison Falls NP was the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is. They have 70 square km of protected space where they started with 4 adult white Rhinos from Kenya. Later they got two more adults from Disney in the U.S. The first Rhino baby born in Uganda, since they were wiped out by poachers and war during the Idi Amin/Milton Obote years, was born to an American mother with a Kenyan father. Since that was 2009, the baby of course was named ... you got it ... Obama. There have been 5 other births since then. They have 6 adults and 6 youngsters now. 6 females and 6 males ... not the ideal mix, because in the wild, there's one male with about 6 females in a harem grouping, and the other males become loners without a territory to claim.

We were given safety instructions. Since these are wild Rhinos, they can charge. And if they do, the best option is to climb a tree. Problem is, there weren't very many climbable trees! Certainly not any tall enough to avoid being gored by that super sharp keratene substance masquerading as a horn. But, it was noon, and the Rhinos were most likely resting, as they are wont to do in the heat. They are usually more active in the early morning, or late evening, when it's cooler. Also White Rhino are generally more docile than Black Rhino. They tried to radio tag each rhino's horn, but found they kept breaking off. So now, they have a full time tracker with each rhino 24 hours a day.

With a tracker guide, we made a 15 minute hike out to Obama's mother Nandi and her year old calf Malaika. We spent about 1/2 hour near them, had lunch, and continued driving towards Murchison Falls NP.

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