I recently mentioned that the Zoo Berlin has a heavyweight “new”, and another one. To be perfectly honest, the second newcomer is not that much lighter – albeit much harder to photograph.
more below the fold.
At birth, Akili weighed roughly 30 kg, nothing compared to the baby elephant at 160 kg, but big enough to keel over a human easily. Her mother tops a metric ton easily; the latest data I could find gives her weight at slightly over 1100 kg!
So why is Akili hard to photograph? I mean, nice and close to a large animal, with the keeper throwing her mom pears and apples to entice her to leave the walled-off portion of the cage and step into the one where she can be seen – where’s the problem?
It’s indoors, little light, and metal bars in the way – hard enough to take decent pictures under these circumstances, especially when you’re competing for the best spot with many other people. Oh, and an 1100 kg rhino in the way, that’s another reason right there!
I must admit that my stupidity again knew no bounds: I took tons of photos without the metal bars in the way by lifting the camera up above my head – but when Akili finally stepped away from her mother I forgot to do so and shot through the bars. AARGH!
Anyways, these are Black rhinos (Diceros bicornis), more specifically Eastern Black rhinos (Diceros bicornis michaeli), a very threatened subspecies – not that the other subspecies far any better. The recent rhino killing spree is not something I want to get into here, because it saddens me as much as it angers me. Let me just say that if I met a poacher or rhino horn dealer I would do my utmost to – well, dispatch them and cut their noses off.
Black rhinos are not very cuddly animals, even though the babies look cute. How dangerous they can be, at least to someone without a gun, can be seen in many videos on youtube. Here‘s a rather surprising one, in which a rhino is challenged by an African buffalo – the buffalo soon after died! (do not watch if you’re squeamish about someone poking someone else with a long, sharp spike)