Hunting a Rhino in Africa has always been a great milestone for any big game hunter. The demand for Rhino Horn in far-east countries has lead to inhumane poaching of these animals. Due to the large scale of rhino poaching in Africa Rhinoceros populations have been on the brink of extinction in the past, however thanks to the committed efforts of hunters and conservationists, their numbers have risen significantly.
There are two species of Rhino in Africa which can be still be hunted; the Black Rhino and the Southern White Rhino.
The Southern white Rhino is found in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Swaziland. This sub specie is also known as the square-lipped rhino and is actually a very placid animal when not disturbed. They can weigh up to 5000lbs and have a solid muscular build. Both the male and female rhinos carry two horns, the front horn growing the longest. White rhino inhabit large open savannah areas near a permanent water source. They tend to live in small groups of 2 to 7 animals while older males become solitary. Hunting the white rhino is still possible in South Africa and Namibia, permits are available but are issued with strict measures in place and only available for male Rhino which have surpassed their breeding prime.
The Black Rhino is easily noticed by their hooked lip, and are found in dense thicket areas with lots of cover. The black rhino is a browser, meaning they feed mainly on leaves and shrubs rather than grass. They are slightly smaller than the white rhino with mature animals reaching 4000 .lbs in weight. The Black rhino has been under immense pressure from poaching and it is estimated that there are roughly 4000 black rhino left in the wild. The Black rhino is known to be very aggressive and may charge without warning, and even without being provoked. Males are very territorial and due to the terrain in which they are found can be very dangerous if encountered in the bush.
Rhino dart hunts involve the use of a tranquilizer dart instead of a high powered bullet, also known as a green hunt, this allows the hunter to shoot the animal with a tranquilizer dart and quickly take photos of their trophy, after a quick vet checkup the antidote is administered so the rhino does not need to be killed. These hunts are however now illegal in both South Africa and Namibia due to operators darting particular rhino too many times a year.
Hunters can now hunt a rhino with what is known as a vita-dart, this is simply a dart which administers essential vitamins to the animal. After the client has administered the vita-dart, a veterinarian steps in to administer an anesthetic so the client can take photos of his trophy. These hunts still give the exhilarating experience of stalking and getting up very close to the rhino, all that differs the weapon which is used.
Rhino hunting is done by following fresh tracks on foot until one has sighted the animal, a clever stalk will need to follow. Rhinos have very poor eyesight but for what they lack in eyesight they have made up in smell and their hearing. These animals do not give you a second chance should you be noisy or get the wind wrong while out hunting them. Rhinos are also known to charge anything in which they are suspicious about. The majority of Rhino which are available to hunt in South Africa or Namibia have had their horns cut off, or trimmed. This is to deter poachers from killing the animals, however when Rhino is taken a synthetic molded horn which is a copy of the original can be used for authenticity.
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