The conservatory kept constant watch on the two animals. "One evening," Strydom said, "I was motorcycling in the area Tangarira had last been seen. I came across him in the middle of the road. He immediately started to huff and puff and looked as if he was going to charge. He always started with a few small little rushes before deciding on the big rush and follow through."
But Strydom said that the unexpected happened: "I put the motorbike between me and him and then spoke gently to him, telling him to steady on. He recognized my voice, started browsing in front of me and walked away."
"I had learned something," Strydom said. "Tangarira taught us a great deal about rhino. They are intelligent. They don't have good eyesight, but a good nose, and he could recognize by scent and sound me and the trackers who monitored [him and Tapiwa]."
Ultimately Tangarira and Tapiwa mated for life, having two children together.
That is, until Tapiwa was killed by poachers in 2007. "At that time she had a very small baby boy, who was called Tinashe. He was so small that we had to get in the wildlife team and have him darted ... He did not leave his mother's carcass and would have surely died," Strydom said.
Years later, Tangarira mated again. His daughter, named Tafara (meaning "We Are happy"), is now 3 years old.
Strydom said that he had no indication Tangarira was being targeted by poachers: "Nothing untoward was expected before he was found early Saturday morning. The shot that killed him was not heard, and he was found in a very rocky area where it was hard to find tracks, and where the bush had previously been burnt out by poachers."
In an ironic twist, Tangarira was set to be dehorned on September 14, as a deterrent to him being poached. Permits were delayed, says Strydom, and there is speculation that the killing was an inside job. A number of men were eventually arrested for Tangarira's killing, but were released on a measly $100 bail each.