Tracks and signs are all around you, even in the city. Ideal examples are birds that normally leave feces on windows, raptors that swift off the chicken from our backyards which was quite typical for us who grew up in a rural setup or forested area you definitely know not to leave your windows open, the cheeky primates are always on the lookout for an opportunistic feed.

Next time you go for a walk (obviously am not talking about pavements or tarmac) try learning as much as you can from what others have left behind, you will be surprised how much you can learn from foot tracks;

  1. How many people walked the track before you and which direction were they walking towards.
  2. Were they walking or running? Is there a scope on the front tip of the shoe track to indicate they were running
  3. Are the tracks fresh? you can even tell the type of shoe from this example rubbers, boots or sports shoes

However, it is on farms and in conservation and wilderness areas that you will discover the joys and uses of reading signs. There’s so much to read on the ground, all that took place at night is written down on the ground; a hunt, a fight, or even where the animal took a nap. Man-made gravel and sand roads are the best for reading signs especially for an area with less traffic, on one of my previous articles I gave detailed clues on how to read and identify various common carnivore tracks due to public demand I will take you through how to read and identify Rhino tracks and signs next time you’re on a game drive or doing a bushwalk in a rhino sanctuary be on the lookout for this interesting signs and clues.

Black Rhino

-The tracks of the hook-lipped rhinoceros are very similar to those of the square-lipped rhinoceros but are shorter.

-This is one rare rhinoceros to come across, an endangered species to be precise with only 15 metapopulations in Kenya.

Black Rhino tracks

-Tracks are similar to those of white rhino but are shorter

-Indentation of the posterior edge is not  usually well pronounced

Black rhino dung

The black rhino is a browser, and its dung consists of coarse, woody plant material mixed with finer material.

White Rhino

– From their sheer size, the tracks are also larger than those of the black rhino

– Both Rhinoceros species have three horny- nailed toes, the largest in front and a slightly smaller one on either side.

– The front foot track is wider and a bit more rounded than the hind track and maybe a little longer.


-Have three horny- nailed toes.

-Front foot track is wider and more rounded than the hind track.

-Indentation on posterior edge is usually more pronounced.

-The white rhino is a grazer, and so the content of its dung is fairly uniform in appearance with relatively fine plant fibres.

-They normally use their hind legs to spread it around (to mark its territory)

– Unlike the black Rhino which spreads its dung with it’s hind legs to spread it the white Rhino does not



China has lifted a quarter-century ban in the trade in Rhino horn apparently for scientific and “medicinal” use of the rhinoceros horn. China state council must be celebrating at the moment while I wonder  if the world declares that their treasured Panda also has medicinal value same as the tigers parts they have allowed to be traded on probably they would feel the pain that conservationists in Africa (other than the South Africans who farm white rhinos to crop off their horns) are feeling.

The rhino horn is primarily made up of keratin, the same substance that makes up our hair and fingernails but has been associated with westerners myths, that white rhino is used mainly by the Chinese as an aphrodisiac and to treat flu and convulsions.

Rhino horn costs around $65,000 per KG making it more valuable than gold and many times more valuable than ivory

In 2016 China banned the sale of Ivory thus reducing the ivory trade only to lift the ban of 1993 in Rhino horn that is said to allow tiger and rhino parts to be used for medicinal and scientific research and cultural exchanges underscoring that the trade will be “Strictly controlled” and the products must come from animals in captivity which will definitely further threaten the survival of especially black rhinos which are critically endangered especially here in Kenya, and just to drive the point home there’s no physical difference to tell apart between a rhino horn bred in the wild and that from captivity.

Opening the trade and creating the demand for the ready market will definitely place pressure on supply, risking sourcing moving beyond farmed white rhinos in South Africa to the remaining endangered population especially on black rhinos here in Kenya.

It’s about time that we local Africans the custodians of our unique wildlife heritage take a genuine stand in conserving our rhninos for posperity because we are the same culprits who will shoot down these magnificent iconic species to earn a few coin, its also about time that consumers of endangered species products understand that the decisions they make buying of this wildlife products to impress someone affects the lives of ordinary people thousands of miles away in countries they may never visit.

Only when the buying stops, the killing can too. “To love all animals is to love all life,to love all life is to be rooted in your spirituality” April Peerless