A RHINO’S TALE.©
I was born free on the African plains,
Underneath the umbrella thorn tree.
Whilst still wet from birth,
I lay in the long sweet grass,
As the gentle morning sun spread its warmth
Throughout perfect little me.
I welcomed the world cosseted and carefree.
That first sweet drink
Of my mother’s milk,
Strengthened my frailty.
A soft nudge on my cheek from mom,
Was all the encouragement I needed,
To quickly raise me to my feet.
For the next few days,
My life was spent in an idyllic haze;
Food on tap was assured – I was content
And safe in my environment.
Mother taught me the ways of a rhino
And what to forage for survival.
She was a constant comfort and guardian
To my fragility and innocence.
As I grew bigger and stronger,
Our days were spent relaxing in the shade.
Under the bright moon, we foraged for food;
Grass, twigs and sand our daily diet,
An existence perfect for us,
In the quietude of the African bush.
A thundering explosion broke the silence!
I was mortified, my instinct was to run and hide;
Mom lay broken, her lifeblood seeping
Into the dry, warm earth.
Mortally wounded, she moaned in agony,
The bullet that struck her had been deadly,
Her cries now of sorrow and concern for me.
The poachers came and in their haste,
To prevent being tracked and chased,
Crudely hacked off mom’s horns;
Her protection and adornment.
Amidst her struggles of protest,
They did not care for her pain,
Only for their monetary gain.
I, incredibly was left unharmed,
But was left trembling, shocked at the horror.
I stared in disbelief; appalled
At the mutilated body of my mother,
Dying under the umbrella thorn,
The place where I was born.
Compassionate humans came to my rescue,
Bottled-food was my daily fare.
My caregivers and I formed a loving bond;
They saw to it that I grew up nourished and strong.
In my youth, I was returned to my natural habitat,
Where I belong – the African Bushveld,
Underneath the umbrella thorn.
I was brimming with vitality and vigour
And proud of my prominent horn,
Which was necessary for the challenges ahead;
To find a mate and procreate.
For one and a half years my days
Were spent in gestation; I was blessed.
I had laid my tragic past to rest
And the best was yet to come.
My calf was born as free as me,
In the shade of the umbrella tree,
On the plains where my mother died.
A new life of survival and peace had arrived
Or was this just a wishful thought?
My tranquillity was destroyed in seconds
By the (remembered) explosion of a gun.
In disbelief, my mind was stunned!
My calf, in her sweet innocence, lay dead,
Not a full day of her life had she lived.
Just like mother, her lifeblood too,
Was staining the warm sand red.
A second explosion rent the air,
This bullet was aimed at my head;
As I lay dying, I was brutally dehorned.
The loss and pain from the injuries I sustained
Was too much for my body to endure.
I welcomed death and took my last breath
Next to my lifeless calf under the umbrella thorn
The place where we were born.
And so my species has been
Obliterated from this land.
The rhinos will no longer be seen
Grazing on Africa’s warm sands,
Or resting under the shade of a tree.
Once again mankind’s cruelty has prevailed,
But in the larger scheme of life, they have failed
And will ultimately pay the highest price.
What God entrusted to man,
Through disrespect and greed, has been taken away
And will no longer see another day.❤
‘A Rhino’s Tale’© is a hypothetical poem about Rhinos which I pray never becomes a reality, but I hope the poem does instill a feeling of desperation and overwhelming sadness in the mind of the reader, because the situation of the Rhinos is exactly that! I must just add that although this poem is about Rhinos, it could also have been written about all the wildlife species in Africa. All our wildlife is under threat from poaching, international, and local hunters, and at times from the sheer ignorance of people who are unaware of the importance of wildlife. Money is the name of the game and it seems as if greed is the victor!!!! Hunting and poaching must be eradicated completely, and educational programmes put into place in schools and communities about the importance of wildlife.
Some Rhino Information.
The Black and White Rhino in Africa is endangered. A Rhino can weigh up to 2300kg and is 1.8m tall. It’s hard to believe that this animal lives on grass, berries, roots, and eats soil to obtain minerals. The Rhino is killed by poachers in Africa for their horns which are said to contain aphrodisiacs – this is a fallacy. The Rhino horn is made of the same substance as fingernails and has no benefit to life at all. In Asia, their horns are used to make daggers. Thousands of Rhinos have been killed over the last few years. If this continues, the Rhinos will be extinct in the near future. The poachers and those who pay them, are heartless and money is their only goal. They are unscrupulous and slaughter these animals without a single iota of compassion. Many organisations are trying to save the Rhino in South Africa through shelters, awareness and fundraising. The Game Rangers in our parks are also doing a fine job in protecting the Rhinos as best they can, this, however is dependent on funds.
Poaching stats: https://www.savetherhino.org/rhino-info/poaching-stats/
© Copyright. Caroline Street. ‘A Rhino’s Tale’
© Copyright. Caroline Street. Art – Rhino Resting. Oil on canvas.