(1). Black rhinos are solitary and nocturnal animals. They spend the entire night foraging and they hide away in thick “cover”, where they sleep soundly (8.a.m. to 4.p.m.), every day. Black rhino population density is entirely dependent on the amount of “relative” cover within five kilometres of permanent water during the dry season. “Cover” (for hiding away purposes, not for eating), therefore, is an essential element of black rhino habitats.
(2). To protect their babies from spotted hyenas (which are the biggest killers of black rhinos), mother rhinos secrete their babies in isolated places, and in thick bush, when they go down to the waterholes, every night, to drink. Without adequate cover within two kilometres of water, therefore, not one single black rhino calf will survive its first twelve months of life. Exposed and left alone for about an hour every night, sooner or later, the hyenas will find these very vulnerable calves and kill them.
(3). At the height of the dry season, black rhinos never wander further than about five kilometres from water; and elephants – when their population numbers are not controlled – can, and do, remove all edible plants and all vegetative cover for distances up to 25 kilometres from water.
Ipso facto – by eliminating these vital survival features of black rhino habitats (food and vegetative cover – but especially cover) – Kruger National Park’s “too-many-elephants” will cause the extinction its black rhinos without a single poacher’s bullet being fired!
The only way to stop all this happening is to reduce the number of elephants in Kruger National Park to the level of the game reserve’s natural elephant carrying capacity.