Saturday, November 16, 2013


A big reason to come to this country was to see African animals.  Unfortunately,  one of the most interesting, the Wide Lipped Rhino has been wiped out of Uganda by poaching and civil strife. Around 2005 with the help of a very large private land donation, the government decided to dedicate this extremely large piece of land to the rhino, and protect it and see if it could possibly make a come back.  This is not a farm or zoo, but a huge parcle of Ugandan land that was given by a private donor for this purpose.  The Rhinos are wild and left alone to breed and live completely naturally.  The ONLY thing different is that it is fenced and protected by guards.  It seems to be working, as they are breeding naturally, surviving, and their numbers are up to 13 now.  This is successful.  Because the Wide Lipped is a gentle grazer, unlike the black lipped, which is more dangerous around people, we were able to hike on the property with  rangers and observe the rhinos up very close.  We were given instructions on how to retreat IF a rhino felt threatened by our presence and came at us.  We were to select a tree and climb it fast!  I am not kidding.  There was one short incident where a mother Rhino did start to come at us...charge is too strong a word, but you could definetly tell she meant business.  I did go behind a tree, more like a sapling, but she turned and followed her baby.  
It was a thrill.  Steve really enjoyed it.  As of now there are no plans to release these animals back to the wild.  Poaching is still a huge problem in Uganda, and they would be wiped out again.  One of the young rhinos had the name of "Obama"........ Because his father was brought from Kenya, and his mother was brought from the USA.

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