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Searching For The Black Rhino

Montana writer Rick Bass goes way into Africa on the trail of the 3000-pound black rhino.

A 4-year old Female black Rhino, runs after it was darted at Nairobi National Park, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2006. Kenyan wildlife officials began relocating 33 endangered rhinos to the Meru National Park to restock the animal. (AP)

A 4-year old Female black Rhino, runs after it was darted at Nairobi National Park, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2006. Kenyan wildlife officials began relocating 33 endangered rhinos to the Meru National Park to restock the animal. (AP)

Montana writer, nature writer, Rick Bass has brought us deep, beautiful stories of grizzly bear and high-country deer.  Wilderness and wolves.  Montana stars and sky and good dogs in pickup trucks.

Now he brings us a story out of Africa.  He’s a long way from his Montana mountains, in the fiery desert of Namibia, on the trail of the astounding black rhino.

Three thousand pounds of muscle and hide and horn.  Huge, and fast.  A time traveler from deep pre-history.  Deeply endangered in our time.  And saved, too.  For now.

This hour, On Point:  Rick Bass on the black rhino and us.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Rick Bass, environmental activist and award-winning chronicler of the American western wilderness. His latest book is “The Black Rhinos of Namibia: Searching for Survivors in the African Desert.”

Simson Uri-Khob, Director of Community Outreach, Training and Research at Save the Rhino Trust in Namibia.

From Tom’s Reading List:

Minneapolis Star Tribune “In “The Black Rhinos of Namibia,” environmental activist and prolific author Rick Bass travels to Namibia to spend time with conservation groups and learn about the endangered black rhino. Although he doesn’t indicate a prior specific fascination with rhinos, Bass quickly becomes utterly enchanted by them.”

Open Letters Monthly “The Black Rhinos of Namibia, in which veteran geologist and nature-writer Rick Bass goes to that south-western African nation in search of its small population of black rhinos, is a haunting book because Bass is a prose stylist of great power – but it’s also a haunted book, because despite the hard-bitten optimism of its author, his story cannot have a happy ending.”

ABC News “As a growing number of endangered African rhinos are poached for their horns, officials and activists are scrambling for ways to halt the slaughter. Suggestions have included pre-emptively cutting off or poisoning their horns, or even deregulating their trade. But nothing promises to quell the insatiable demand for their powder in Asia.”

Excerpt: “The Black Rhinos of Namibia: Searching for Survivors in the African Desert”

Use the navigation bar at the bottom of this frame to reformat the excerpt to best suit your reading experience.

Gallery

Click through the slideshow below to see some pictures of the black rhinoceros in Namibia and around the world.

photo
A charging Black rhinoceros in Namibia. (Mike Hern / Save The Rhino Trust - Namibia)Two black rhinos in Namibia. (Mike Hern / Save The Rhino Trust - Namibia)Director of Community Outreach, Training and Research at Save the Rhino Trust- Namibia Simson Uri-Khob checks on a darted (anaesthetised) black rhino in Namibia. (Dave Hamman Photography)Simson Uri-Khob with an anaesthetised rhino in Namibia. (Dave Hamman Photography)Simson Uri-Khob straddles an anaesthetised black rhino to cover its eyes. Rhinos can become blind because of the sharp sunlight if their eyes are not protected under anaesthetic. (Dave Hamman Photography)Simson Uri-Khob and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism staff help move a sedated black rhino. (Dave Hamman Photography)Water is poured onto a sedated black rhino to keep him cool in the Namibian heat. (Dave Hamman Photography)In this undated photo provided by Green Renaissance/World Wildlife Fund, a black rhino is transported by helicopter in South Africa. Nineteen of the critically endangered animals were moved from the Eastern Cape to a new location in Limpopo province. (AP)In this undated photo provided by Green Renaissance/World Wildlife Fund, a black rhino is lifted by helicopter in South Africa. (AP)In this undated photo provided by Green Renaissance/World Wildlife Fund, a team checks a black rhino after its transport by helicopter in South Africa. (AP)In this photo provided Jan. 25, 2011, by the Saint Louis Zoo, is a baby black rhinoceros calf with his mother, Kati Rain, at the Saint Louis Zoo in Saint Louis. The as yet unnamed male was born at the zoo on Jan. 14 and weighed 120 1/2 pounds. (AP)Miadi, an eastern black rhinoceros, stands next to the baby female rhino born to her at the Washington Park Zoo in Portland, Ore., Friday, Sept. 26, 1997. Miadi gave birth shortly after 1 a.m. Friday to the 70-pound calf, who will be named by the zoo staff. (AP)Kenya Wildlife Service officials display two black rhino horns which were part of a cargo that included 16 elephant tusks weighing 280 kg. which were impounded Tuesday July 14, 2009 in a cargo plane heading to Bangkok, Thailand when it stopped over at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the Kenyan capital city, Nairobi. (AP)Black rhino in the Berlin Zoo, Germany on Wednesday, March 30, 2005. (AP)A 4-year old Female black Rhino, runs after it was darted at Nairobi National Park, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2006. Kenyan wildlife officials began relocating 33 endangered rhinos to the Meru National Park to restock the animal. (AP)
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