By Amelia Meyer
A rhinoceroses attacking a human being is a very rare event. In fact, there are fewer than two attacks every year and these are, for the most part, not fatal. Although the Black Rhino of Africa is notorious for being aggressive, it is not often that it needs to inflict such aggression on people, since rhinos are, by their very natures, loners.
They prefer to wander the plains of their territory unhindered and undisturbed. While Black and White Rhinos are more likely to charge a threat, the Indian, Sumatran and Javan of the rhino species are more inclined to run and hide from danger. This is not to say that these latter three species are completely safe to human beings, though.
The most common situation in which a rhino will attack is when it is a female with a calf to protect. Any indication of threat to her calf will prickle her senses and incite a defence mechanism within her. Approaching humans and animals need to leave the area immediately if they come onto contact with a mother and her calf.
Most of the attacks on cars and other tourist vehicles have been as a result of spectators wanting to get a closer look at the mother and her baby. The mother instinctively wants to get rid of the intruders to ensure her calf’s safety. These female rhinos have been known to charge vehicles and inflict an enormous amount of damage to them.
Most of the damage done during a rhino attack comes from its sheer brute force. An adult rhinoceros can weigh up to three tons. In addition, its horn is used in attacks and can do an extraordinary amount of harm to an animal, human or vehicle.
This having been said, the rhino’s aim is not to hurt or kill the human beings inside the vehicle. Rather, they simply want to chase them away. Crashing into the car is merely due to the very bad eyesight of the rhinoceros. Therefore, the best defence is to leave the area immediately. People that are walking through a rhino territory should ensure that there is always a safe escape route, or a tree in which they can sit safely until the rhino has left the area. Once the threat is out of sight, the rhino will not pursue it.
Before attacking a human being, though, the rhino will likely snort loudly as a warning. This should be taken seriously. Once the animal begins its charge, it can reach speeds of about 56 kilometres per hour. It can also change direction quickly and deftly, if necessary.
For those that come into contact with a rhino, it is important not to cause the stress and fear that could lead to an attack. Stay far away from her calf and respect her warnings by leaving the area immediately.