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 Post subject: Return of the Rhinos
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:39 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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I am an avid second hand bookshop browser. I came across a book, "Kruger Park Saga" by "Piet Meiring". It was printed in 1976, so it has a lot of interest from an historical perspective.

A chapter that is pertinent right now as the Rhino wars continue, is the chapter on Return of the Rhinos.

I am going to copy this chapter and share it bit by bit as time allows. Sit back and enjoy.

Remember, this is from 1976.

"Fifteen years ago the white rhinosceros were introduced to the Kruger National Park. The history of this forced migration bears recalling, even if only to show it's dogged as does it.

When the National Park bill was introduced in Parliament 1926, the Minister of Lands, Mr P G W Grobler, expressed the hope that the white rhino, which had once been indigenous to the Lowveld, would again find a home in the reserve. In the event, the struggle to transfer rhinos to the game reserve was long and difficult. At the time these behemoths could only be found in Natal and the provincial authorities were not exactly overflowing with generosity when it came to rhinos.

On 9 December, 1958, the Parks Board decided to establish black rhino in the vicinity of Ceasars dam in the hope that the Natalians could be persuaded to lend a helping hand. So many problems, both imagined and real, arose in connection with the capture and transport of these huge animals that the whole plan was abandoned. Unshaken in their determination to add rhino to the game population of the reserve, officials of the Parks Board approached authorities of other territories known to have rhino, such as Mozambique, South West Africa, Northern Rhodesia, Tanganyika and Kenya."

Next episode after the commercial break

Do they, or do they not suceed in their selfless black rhino quest?

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Picture National Geographic.

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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Rhinos
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:05 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Thanks everyone :thumbs_up:

Keep tuned, it turns into a rolicking adventure at places.

Piet Meiring continues:

"I chanced to be on official business in Nairobi when Col. Nic Jooste, the South African Commisioner, opened up negotiations with the Kenyan authorities for the purchase and transportation of rhino for the game reserve. The negotiations proceeded without any hitch and by October 1959 two rhinos had been caught and spent the prescribed period in quatantine. At last the great moment arrived when with some difficulty the two animals were loaded on a boat for the trip to Port Elizabeth. Accompanying them was Mr Nic Carter, one of the first game rangers to use tranquillising darts to capture wild animals. Wisely he decided to take his dart gun with him on bard, just in case the rhinos should get it into their head to run amuck on the long voyage.

For some time before they embarked, they were kept in the crates in which they would spend their time on board, so that by departure time they were reasonably accustomed to their temporry abode. Precautions were necessarily elaborate. Imagine what would have happened if these monseters had decided to make a break! And who would ever capture them again, and how? Heaven knows, it had been difficult enough cornering them in the wild Kenyan bush so they could be put under with a shot from a dart gun. They were duly crated in their unconscious state and transported to the docks for a period of three weeks to give them the opportunity to calm down and become accostomed to their confined space. Thereafter they were transfered to a boma, ten metres square, where they were fed lucerne.

Mr Carter waited until two days before the departure of the boat to shut off the boma from the pens and then, securely crated, the rhinos were hauled on board with one of the stoutest dock cranes. During the entire loading operation and for the first few days at sea the rhinosceos behaved themselves in an exemplarly fashoin, but when the ship docked at Dar es Salam the supply of hedgehog leaves, their favourite feed, was exhausted and a lorry had to be dispatched to the interior in search for more. Thereafter, peace reigned supreme, so mush so, in fact, that both the crew and passengers were amazed at how compliant the two wild ones had become. Things got to such a pass that some of the visitors even dared to scratch the rhino behind the ear, until one day, the cow, thoroughly fed up with all the unwanted attention, nearly broke the roof of her cage."

Stay tuned for the next episode of this thrilling adventure

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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Rhinos
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:42 am 
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Hi MM

Thanks very much. I can still remeber in later years following the translocation of rhino in the Custos
Don't know who still remebers this magazine.

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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Rhinos
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:38 am 
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Keep reading, the story gets better and better.

"The historic journey ended in Port Elizabeth on 19 March 1960. It took some 12 hours to complete the off loading operation, after which the two immigrants were taken to the quarantine pens at Addo Park. These were 100 metres square and fenced by eight steel cables and seven strands of barbed wire stretched along rails sunks at least five feet into the ground. They even had their own bedroom-a stable, seven metres square, with a cement floor and absestos roofing.

Thus the rhinos embarked on the second phase of their immigration to South Africa. They had to spend a whole month in the confined space of their new pen before the state vetenary surgeons were satisfied that the quarantine regulations had been complied with. When at last, after eight months of confinement, the happy moment of freedom came, a large deputation under Mr R J Labuschagne, at that time deputy director of Parks board, went down to Port Elizabeth to see that the required precautions were properly taken: Mr Labuschagne himself wrote:

The first problem was how to lure the rhino from their stable to the special crates which they were due to be transported to their new encampment inside a larger camp.

On Wednesday we bull-dozed a special ditch in front of the stables, four foot deep and 30 foor wide. Thereafter the huge crates were firmly secured on tralers which were going to be drawn up in front of the stable after we had put up the barricades of steel cables and posts from the doors of the stable to the doors of the crates, the idea being to force the rhinos along a fenced path into the waitng crate..."

For the next episode.. how not to fornce a rhino :wink:

force and rhino :hmz: sounds like a plan set to go wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Rhinos
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:39 am 
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Thank you all for following.

Lets get back to the story.

"At dawn on Thursday morning we got down to the actual job of luring the rhinos from their home. We tried water, dry lucerne and naboom boughs, one of their favourite feeds, but all to no avail. When by noon we had made no progress whatever, we tried teasing them by waving sacks in front of them. But even this brought them only to the opening of the crates. Thereapon a few of us were foolhardy enough to crawl into the crates to taunt them rfrom there, but even this had no effect whatever. By this time the rhinos had gone without food for 24 hours and by nightfall theydecided that they were too hungry for any more tomfoolery, for they slowly began to move into the crates and once inside immediately began to eat.

The journey into the special enclosure was commanded on Saturday morning. Even this did not pass without event. The trailers with the rhinos secure in their crates were drawn close to the dam wall and the whole crowd of helpers, except three whites and two blacks, left the enclosure. We opened the crates similaneously, but once again there was no reaction on the part of the rhinos. A few of us were perched on top of the crates, and grabbing a loose wooden board, someone began to prod the rhinos from above.

This time there was a reaction-swift and unexpected! The cow stormed out of her shed and stormed the tractor! When, the next moment she saw the bull, she rushed headlong at him, pushing him all over the plac with her massive horn. We watched this viscious and unprovoked attack with bated breath, fearing that after all our efforts over many months, we would arrive at the game reserve with no bull. In desparation all of us started making as much noise as possible to divert the cow's attention from the hapless bull. This did the trick, for the next moment the cow turned to face us giving the bull an opportunity to move out of the corner where he had been mauled.

When the cow approached him, the bull let her have it! So viscious was the blow, that he pitchforked her down the dam wall. He followed her down the incline and we held our breath for the next encounter. But they merely glared at one another-for a full half hour. Suddenly the cow moved away and calmy proceeded to settle down for a roll in the nearest pool of mud. For an encore, before she finally called it a day, she charged the photographer and chased him into the nearest truck. By nightfall the two rhinos were peacefully grazing in their new home."

Oh dear, so much for domestic bliss :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Rhinos
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:04 am 
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Gee wizzzzz... heart pounding moments :shock: ........ Bliss peace restored :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Rhinos
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:36 am 
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Thank you all for your comments. :thumbs_up:

Certainly, reading Piet Meiring's accounts made me aware of how ground breaking this all was. Again, I am in awe of the miracle that is Kruger and all the dedicated people who have been involved in this miracle.

Piet Meiring goes on:

"That is the story of the black rhino, but what of the while rhino? Reintroducing them into the game reserve took a great deal of patience and much effort. Eventually the Natal Parks Board agreed to part with a few rhinos, provided the men from the game reserve fetched them from Umfolozi.

What objections there were this time, were raised not by the people, but by the leader of the rhino herd himself. Tempramentally he put his huge foot down and decided to be as unco-operative as possible. If ever a would be immigrant to the game reserve made no bones about his unwillingness to go, this rhino bull certainly did.

Image

More on its way. My computer is being as tempremental as the white rhino bull. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Rhinos
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:04 am 
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Thanks :thumbs_up:

back to the story aftter being dropped by my computer. :wall:

"For a start he refused point blank to leave home. Once he became so ill that Ian Player, head of the Umfolozi game reserve, questioned whether it would be advisable to move him at all. But Lappies Labuschange, who had led an army of minor officials down to Umfolozi to organise the great trek, insisted that that particular white rhino was the one destined to come to the promised land of the game reserve. None other would do. Just to think what the press would say if this animal actually refused to come to Skukuza or whatever!

Dr Ian Player

Image

Patron and saviour of the rhinos.

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Last edited by Meandering Mouse on Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Rhinos
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:12 am 
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"He conveyed his firm decision to a distraught Ian Player at the gate of the pen. "Look", he said, "this bull was captured to be transferred to the game reserve. This bull, and no ther bull was presented to the press as the first white rhino immigrant to the game reserve. He will go to the reserve, come whay may! If he dies along the way, at least we will have a white rhino carcass after 80 years, but if he arrives there alive and well, he will be the first in 80 years to graze the pastures of the Kruger National Park"

Image

Rather a lot of bulls around methinks :hmz:

Stay tuned to a tale of dedication and sometimes pure doggedness

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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Rhinos
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:56 am 
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Thank you everyone.

Firstly, all accolades to Piet Meiring whose words I am using. Sadly his book is out of print.

"Meanwhile the bull stood rooted in his tracks, yawning and sighing profusely. His eyes sagged, his whole body trembled and his skin hung loose. When finally they succeeded in loading him onto the large truck, Player quipped that it seemed that every fifteen minutes the rhino was searching for a new way of passing out.

The first stopover was Gollel and during the night the "sick" bull had such a come-over that some of the newspapers started writing their obituraries. At one stage the poor thing was lying on his back, seemingly about to breathe his last. IN sheer desparation the convoy decided there was nothing for it but to proceed.

Afterwards Lappies recalled that he would never forget that glorious moment when, looking back towards the the truck carrying the crate, he saw Toll Pienaar waving his arms and heard him shout the memorable words:

"He has got up. He is all right".

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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Rhinos
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:37 am 
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Again, my thanks to all who are following this thread.

The recent 40 year jail sentence given to someone who was clearly flaunting the law makes me feel more hopeful. Unless this evil of greed is attacked at every level, we are fighting a losing battle.

"The epic journey was successfully concluded on Friday, 13th October. At the stroke of noon the party began to cross the Crocodile river at Malelane, the truck with the rhino bull leading the long procession. But the bull was not quite done with his tricks, for the very next moment it collapsed in its tracks. In the ensuing efforts at revival Tol Pienaar got his little finger caught between the massive horn and the side of the crate. It took a full hour to raise the animal to its feet and two hours later the convoy arrived triumphantly at its destination, Pretorius Kop."

Image

Could this be one of his off spring, I wonder?

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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Rhinos
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:04 am 
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Thanks all. :thumbs_up:

In Piet Meiring's words, the tale/tail continues.

"The bull duly entered the little paddock prepared for him, but the next morning insisted on passing throgh another crisis. He was found lying on his side snoring heavily. Ranger van der Merwe reported that the poor thing was suffering from at least a severe bout of pneumonia. But this, too, turned out to be no more than a whim, for when the gates of the enclosure were thrown open, he got up and wandered off into the veld, putting down the first white rhino tracks in the game reserve for eighty years.

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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Rhinos
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:22 am 
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Thank you all for reading.

Piet Meiring completes his chapter on "the return of the rhinos" by reflecting on the efforts continued by Kruger.

"This was the first of 98 white rhinos to be transfered from Umfolozi to the game reserve. The last transfer took place in October 1969 when 43 rhinos were brought over from Natal, bringing the the total to 141 transfers in eight years. According to reports, these strangers settled down very well and lost little time in becoming accustomed to their new surroundings. The various herds are multiplying well and there can be no doubt that once again the white rhino has become a permanent and contented member of the animal community of the Kruger National Park"

Image

Lets hope that these efforts are never betrayed. :pray:

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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Rhinos
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:19 pm 
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THANK YOU SOO MUCH MM for sharing :gflower: :gflower: :gflower:

Really enjoyed it. I will also be :pray: :pray: :pray: that the Rhino's remain in Kruger forever

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