By Dean Murray via SWNS
Hair-raising pictures show a critically endangered black rhino running at a photographer.
Thankfully, the grumpy animal was only sprinting past the vehicle containing wildlife snapper Paul Goldstein.
The Wimbledon-based guide says the Kenyan rhino was seemingly spooked by a storm and irritated by two buffalo making noise on the other side of the Landcruiser.
"Heavy storms always excite me as a photographer and this ferocious squall came after a long dry period. The toughest part of this drive was avoiding getting stuck and finding a subject," Paul said.
"Black rhino are browsers, so this one was probably uncomfortable at being exposed on the plains, normally the domain of their white cousins.
"I initially thought, as it approached, that it was bothered by the vehicle, but actually it was much more concerned by two buffalo knocking horns on the other side of me, the sound clearly infuriated the animal.
"It came very close, before thundering past us, giving a cursory look and then went to pick a fight with two ruminants."
According to the WWF, populations of black rhino declined dramatically in the 20th century thanks to European hunters and settlers. Between 1960 and 1995, numbers dropped by a shocking 98%, to less than 2,500.
Thanks to conservation efforts across Africa, numbers have doubled from their historic low 20 years ago to around 5,500 today. However, the black rhino is still considered critically endangered.
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a 360 km² not-for-profit wildlife conservancy in Central Kenya's Laikipia County.
"Ol Pejeta Conservancy is one of the few strongholds for rhino, black and white, and has been remarkably successful in fighting to keep these animals from the rapacious desires of S.E. Asian traditional medicine," Paul said.
"Currently the price of rhino horn is more than cocaine, despite having zero medical provenance.
"To spend time with any rhino is a privilege and hopefully one that can exist for many years, but until the brutal harvest of these animals and the seemingly insatiable and insidious demands of 'medicine' are curtailed, the poachers and dealers may have the last say on their future.
"As ever it is the heroes. There are many at Ol Pejeta and indeed at other conservancies, that, with utter conviction and bravery, that keep a hold on this species' precious birthright."
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