Watch as two of Africa’s biggest and heaviest animals go head to head in a very rarely seen sighting. The hippo is trying his luck with the rhinos, but the rhinos have none of it.
Mike Kirkman, Head Ranger at Mala Mala Game Reserve, took this amazing footage near the Airstrip in the Mala Mala Game Reserve. In his own words, 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 2nd and 3rd largest species! As always, when nature throws a curveball like this, as a guide - it is very difficult to explain.
About half of the rangers in the camp were returning from a drive and saw the animals on the way back to camp, but because of the strict rules around disclosing the locations of rhino sighting, we didn’t even announce it on the radio at all. 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.
We do not normally view rhino at night, but with them being on the main route in and out of the camp it was impossible to avoid however, after a while they were left to themselves. 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 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.
When we asked Mike how rare this sighting was for him, he responded “I have never seen anything like this before or since.”