South African freelance ranger Ryno Erasmus is taking his job to a new level by educating people about wildlife on YouTube. He introduced his first video on 11 July 2016, encouraged to start his web channel, Ryno in the Bush, by vlogger sensation Suzelle DIY and her friend, Marianne, who is Erasmus’s girlfriend.
With his channel, he aims to educate especially city slickers about life in the bush. In his second video, he introduces his audience to a “bushman’s candle”. It is a baboon’s tail that is used as a torch by bushmen and rangers.
Watch Erasmus explain a bushman’s candle:
Interest in nature and animals
Erasmus grew up in the small town of Graskop in Mpumalanga, the youngest of three boys. “My father worked as an engineer on the mines. My mother kept the household and made goats cheese in her spare time,” he explains.
“Our father would throw me and my brothers on to the back of his bakkie and we’d venture out into the bush almost every weekend. It was around this time that my love for tracking animals began.”
Through his videos, he wants to educate people about nature and animals, Erasmus says. “Hopefully I can also shed light on our poaching epidemic, especially with regards to our rhinos.”
Although the term “boots on the ground” refers to soldiers on the battle field, rangers have also taken the phrase for themselves: “[It’s] when we describe the protection of our animals.”
Watch Erasmus talk about predator dung and how the black back jackal got its name:
Being a vlogger
He works every day in the bush, Erasmus says, and is trying to juggle his work as a ranger and being a vlogger. “It’s very exciting [to be a vlogger]. I find it hard though to reply to everyone’s comments, because I am hardly in front of the computer. I am normally in the bush.
“I enjoy being in front of the camera. Some of the guys here [working with him] say I should try for stand-up comedy.”
One of his most memorable moments was out on a game drive with German tourists. “It was once on an early morning drive. The tourists were in the back [of the vehicle] and an African rock python stuck its head out between my legs and the steering wheel. Did I get the fright of my life!
“It was certainly the strangest thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Watch Erasmus approach a cheetah eating its prey:
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