Head Ranger at Mala Mala Game Reserve Mike Kirkman shot a rare clip of an interaction between a curious hippo and a less-than-amused rhino. The footage was taken near the Airstrip in the Reserve, reports Letaba Herald.
According to a post on Latest Sightings, Mike tells of this rare and interesting, albeit a bit confusing, sighting:
“At the time it was still a very dry season in the reserve and the animals were battling with what little grass there was available. The area around the airstrip was pretty barren and I think the hippo was more curious and lonely, because at the time many of the hippo had already left this area due to the drought. In my opinion, everyone was more confused than anything else at this sighting. It’s not normal to see an interaction like this between any animal – never mind the second and third largest species! As always, when nature throws a curveball like this, as a guide – it is very difficult to explain.”
Kirkman explained that rangers were returning to camp from a drive when they saw the animals, but because of the strict rules around disclosing rhino sighting locations, it wasn’t announced on the radio.
“Yet another unfortunate side effect of the rhino crisis and so in this case, many of our guests and fellow rangers were unable to witness this spectacular yet unusual interaction.”
He said it was normal to view rhino at night, but they were on the main route in and out of the camp, so the interaction was unavoidable.
“I’m not sure what the final outcome of the interaction would have been but we never saw any injured animals afterwards so I can only assume that it ended peacefully. As you can see in the video, it is not an overly aggressive meeting, but more of [a] confused one.
“As I mentioned, I don’t think it had anything to do with food/resource disputes as we were far from the river and there was no grass on the runway to fight over – I think this hippo may have simply been lonely and bored or simply curious.”
Watch the unique interaction: