White Man in Africa, 1997

Dug this up when Annie D showed me a YouTube of a baby rhino– white? — in S Africa, in a similar predicament. Back in ’97, when it was permissible if naive to think Mugabe was not a monster (such writers as Peter Godwin had already laid out the truth), when Zimbabwe had one of the most enlightened conservation programs in Africa, more innovative than ours…

Karl Hess Jr. sent us– me and a couple of other journalists; Tom Wolf, Wendy Marston, Rich Miniter– there at the request of the government, to report on their success, especially with elephants.

Someday maybe– too much heartbreak soon followed. This photo taken near Kariba, where I caught the falciparum Malaria that almost killed me, and I suspect might have been the trigger that made such things as PD and RA, which I have genes for, express themselves. Certainly I never looked quite that robust again– I look like Redmond O’Hanlon! White man in the tropics drinking gin…

The rhino’s mother had been killed by poachers. The poachers had been killed by the tall, shaven- headed head ranger who, he gleefully told me, was the best ranger in Zimbabwe because “I kill more poachers!”

3 thoughts on “White Man in Africa, 1997”

  1. So many ways to get kilt in the African bush from the inhabitants–elephants, rhinos, hippos, buffalo, lions, leopards, hyenas, crocodiles, a multitude of venomous snakes, not too mention all manner of murderous tribal and terrorist and bandit humans–but what kills more people than them ALL put together? A tiny, frail flying insect that carries a disease…..L.B.

  2. Yeah, Anon(August 1)–the one in the photo definitely a "black"–although what was on the video sent(?) we have no idea. Not having seen the video. I have always disliked the names "black" and "white" rhinos to distinguish between the species, and I highly prefer Jonathan Kingdon's renaming of them in his guide to African Mammals(A MUST for anyone interested in learning the basics of African Wildlife!) as "BROWSE" rhinoceros for the blacks, and "GRASS" rhinos for the whites/wide-mouths! Perfect designation!….L.B.


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