Dramatic moment mother antelope clashed horns with a rhino which strayed a bit too close to her calf at safari park


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This is the dramatic moment a mother antelope clashed horns with a three-tonne rhino which strayed a little too close to her calf at a safari park.

The stand-off in Wiltshire saw the antelope refuse to back down when the beast approached her calf – and at one point even clashed horns with it.

The antelope, Ramina, kept her baby Phoenix behind her at all times as she charged at the massive rhino, Njanu, despite it being 15 times heavier.

Dramatic: The stand-off saw the antelope refuse to back down when the beast approached her calf – and at one point even clashed horns with it
Coming together: The antelope, Ramina, kept her baby Phoenix behind her at all times as she charged at the massive rhino, Njanu

Keepers say Ramina, a scimitar oryx antelope, was being overly defensive of her baby on her first outing in the park following a difficult birth.

This saw the calf, who lives at Longleat Safari Park near Frome, brought back to life by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Dan Gray, a keeper at the park, said: ‘Phoenix is Ramina’s seventh calf but her birth was not an easy one.

‘In fact I had to give her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation soon after she was born as she had stopped breathing.’

Taking him on: Keepers say Ramina, a scimitar oryx antelope, was being overly defensive of her baby in the park following a difficult birth
Coming together: The calf, who lives at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire, was brought back to life by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation after birth

But he added: ‘Happily Phoenix made a full recovery and that was why she was allowed out in to the park properly.

‘However, it may be that Ramina was even more protective than usual as a result and decided to stand her ground. Njanu was almost certainly just being inquisitive and meant no harm at all.

‘But I guess Ramina didn’t know that and she displayed real maternal courage to stand up to him so bravely.’

The scimitar oryx – oryx dammah in Latin – gets its name from its scimitar-shaped horn which can measure up to 5ft (1.5m) in length.

Some experts believe the oryx may be the basis for the unicorn legend because when seen side-on it can appear as if they only have one horn.

Come on then: The scimitar oryx – oryx dammah in Latin – gets its name from its scimitar-shaped horn which can me
It’s back: Originally from North Africa, the oryx antelope is thought to have gone extinct in the wild in 1999 – due to hunting and loss of habitat

The horns are made from hollow bone, so can break off quite easily and do not grow back – making one horned oryx a relatively common occurrence.

The oryx antelope, originally from North Africa, is thought to have gone extinct in the wild in 1999 – due to hunting and loss of habitat.

Longleat is part of an international captive breeding programme for the species, with there now said to be more than 1,500 of them worldwide.

Re-introduction programmes are taking place in Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal – with captive-bred animals being released into fenced reserves.


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