VIDEO: Angry rhino chases conservationists who are forced up a tree

Rhino on the rampage: Terrifying moment angry black rhino charges towards tree after conservationists scramble into its branches to escape him

  • Tom Frew was involved in an operation to sedate a black rhino in South Africa
  • When the rhino regained consciousness, it charged at Mr Frew forcing him to run
  •  Mr Frew and a colleague were forced to climb a tree to avoid the angry rhino
  • This is the terrifying moment an angry black rhino tried to gore two conservationists trapped in a tree despite no longer having a horn.  

    Tom Frew from Ranger Buck Safaris joined an operation to locate and collar white rhinos in South Africa in September 2021 when they received a call that a rare black bull was nearby.

    Having sedated and collared the young bull, Mr Frew, a 26-year-old marketing manager was forced to jump into a tiny tree nearby to evade the charging giant.








    Tom Frew and a colleague were forced to hide up a tree after being chased by a black rhino in South Africa

    Tom Frew and a colleague were forced to hide up a tree after being chased by a black rhino in South Africa

    The team wanted to sedate and collar the young black bull so it could be monitored remotely

    The team wanted to sedate and collar the young black bull so it could be monitored remotely

    Perched precariously in a skinny branch just above the rhino’s nose, Mr Frew and a colleague had to stand deadly still until the infuriated bull finally ran off.

    The footage shows that the rhino’s horns had been removed during an earlier procedure. 

    Conservationists take the drastic action of dehorning a rhino so there is less incentive for poachers to kill the animal.  

    Ranger Buck Safaris said the procedure is carried out when the rhino is anaesthetised and is completely painless.  

    Mr Frew, from Cape Town, South Africa, said: ‘I was just thrilled and so full of adrenaline from the encounter.

    ‘It all just happened so fast that it was already over before we could even start to comprehend what had just happened and how lucky we were that things ended the way that they did.

    ‘African Black rhino are rarer than the white rhino and are much more aggressive and dangerous as well, especially when provoked or aggravated.

    ‘Sure enough, as soon as the rhino came to, it caught the scent of my colleagues in the surrounding trees and rushed around furiously from tree to tree trying to even the odds with us after having ruined it’s morning.

    ‘With the rhino so fixated on everyone else, I hadn’t even bothered to start climbing the tree next to me and was still standing on the ground videoing the commotion with my phone.

    Mr Frew said he and his colleague remained up in the tree for several minutes after the rhino retreated back into the bush as they did not wish to become 'another unusual African death statistic'

    Mr Frew said he and his colleague remained up in the tree for several minutes after the rhino retreated back into the bush as they did not wish to become ‘another unusual African death statistic’ 

    ‘After what seemed like a lifetime, the animal finally gave up the chase and made its way back into the bush and we were left unscathed after what could have easily ended as another unusual African death statistic.

    ‘We stayed in the tree for a few minutes after the animal disappeared just to be safe before finally making our way down and back towards the safety of the vehicles and continued with the rest of the collaring operation.’

    Ranger Buck Safaris works with multiple organisations throughout South Africa to protect wildlife by offering clients the opportunity to join real conservation work.

    Mr Frew said: ‘When black rhinos wake up after these procedures, they almost always choose fight instead of flight and often put on an incredible show, rushing around and charging at anything they can.

    ‘If you manage to find a strong, sturdy tree, more often than not, they come right underneath you to try and get some pay back.

    ‘All of a sudden and completely out of nowhere, the rhino stopped dead in its tracks, turned towards us and started hurling itself in our direction at breakneck speed.

    ‘I was immediately filled with crippling regret when I turned around to get my first proper glimpse of the tree we had chosen in case of a rhino attack.

    The rhino reacted angrily after it came round having been sedated so conservationists could fit it with a collar to allow the bull to be tracked

    The rhino reacted angrily after it came round having been sedated so conservationists could fit it with a collar to allow the bull to be tracked

    ‘It had a trunk not much thicker than my thigh and two lousy, low hanging branches that were just high enough to keep us out of reach from the rhino.

    ‘Out of time and with no other options, I figured that this was my best bet and rushed to join my colleague who was perched on one of the branches no more than 1.5metres above the ground.

    ‘In a matter of seconds I had reached the highest possible point I could climb without the risk of breaking a branch and tumbling out of the tree where the rhino was now waiting below, huffing and puffing furiously and trying to figure out how it could get to us.

    ‘All that needed to happen was for the rhino to put even a little bit of its weight against the flimsy trunk and that would have been enough to send the whole tree toppling over with us inside of it.

    ‘With less than half a metre between us and the animal and nowhere else to go, all we could do was stay as still as possible and hope that the animal would eventually lose interest.

    ‘We weren’t in the tree for more than three minutes. We had to wait there for a bit to be sure that the animal was in fact gone before we climbed down.’ 

    A spokesperson for Ranger Buck Safaris said: ‘Tom, our marketing manager, had this unforgettable encounter with a highly endangered black rhino a few weeks ago during a rhino collaring operation in South Africa. 

    ‘Shortly after the animal started to wake up after having its anti-poaching collar fitted, our team climbed up into some of the surrounding trees where we could monitor the animal from a safe vantage point. 

    ‘The rhino, startled and confused after waking up from the procedure, caught the scent of our team in a nearby tree and rushed over to investigate before making its way back into the surrounding bush, leaving us with a spectacular story to tell around the next campfire and an incredible video to prove it!’