Adapt or die. These rhinos found refuge in the desert
The desert isn’t an obvious home for rhinos. But in a corner of Namibia, a rare subspecies roams wild. Unrestricted by park fences or gates, these desert-adapted black rhino are a symbol of what little freedom the species still has. Andrew Beck has had the opportunity to photograph them, and uses his pictures to share his glimpses of the animal while teaching others about our responsibility towards them.
“Being in the field and living and working in the bush, being confronted with poaching, it’s heartbreaking,” Beck says. His leaning towards the natural world was instilled as a young boy when he went on camping trips with his family. Beck later studied game ranch management and ecology and conservation, but yearned to express himself through photography. Academia had placed him in the field, but he wanted to share special places and experiences with others. He combined his love of the art and his passion for wildlife by leading photographic tours across Africa. Of all the animals he’s seen, it’s the black rhino that has fascinated him the most. Namibia is home to 34% of the world’s remaining black rhino population, and 90% of the desert-adapted subspecies. Since 1982, the Save the Rhino Trust has worked to protect the free-roaming animal, and their efforts have seen the endangered population rise. With the trust, Beck and his company, Wild Eye, guide tours in the Namib Desert that offer people a chance to see the rhino. The tours allow trackers to conduct research at the same time, and they ensure there is as little interference on the rhino’s space as possible.
With a wealth of knowledge and creativity, Beck provides lessons in what it means to coexist with our environment. “Being exposed to the bush at a young age gave me an appreciation for everything in nature, to understand that everything was linked,” he says. Through photography, Beck demonstrates that the earth and its wildlife is not just for us to admire, but protect.