This four-month-old black rhino calf was found dehydrated and lost in the African bush. Black rhinos are known to hide their young. Here, the evidence suggests that a white rhino bull came across the hidden calf, which then mistakenly followed the bull. The youngster is being raised as wild as possible, with minimal human intervention. But it will need protection and feeding until it is two and a half to three years old, when rhinos usually become independent from their mothers. Hilary was on her way to work one morning when she spotted the calf among a group of anti-poaching scouts as they prepared for the day ahead. ‘It was as though he was part of the team,’ she says, ‘reminding us of why we should be fighting hard to save his species’. The black rhino is critically endangered. Poaching for the international trade in rhino horn caused a dramatic 98 per cent drop in rhino numbers between 1960 and 1995, and it is still the biggest threat to the species. Rhino horn is demanded mainly for traditional (and more recently modern) Chinese medicine and for ornamental use (for example, dagger handles in some Middle Eastern countries). Realising the power of a photograph to convey a message, Hilary captured this one small moment that tells a very big story.
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Hilary O'Leary, Zimbabwe
Hilary is at home outdoors, with a love of horses, bike riding, wild places and the simple things in life. She divides her time between Botswana and her native Zimbabwe. When she started taking photographs four years ago, she discovered a new way of seeing the world and of appreciating the special moments that she experiences. Her camera now goes with her everywhere.