From Geraldton to the African Wild

The attached composite image includes the promo sketch that accompanied one of the TV guide
announcements from that era. As can be seen, it includes a portrayal of 3 rhinos, John, Shelley (holding the
radio) and their two young daughters.
(Ken R. Johnson)

[The following article by Ken Johnson was forwarded to me for posting in Greenstone History PLUS. All images below come from the film “Kifaru – the Black Rhinoceros” in]

With the world heading for the abyss on all fronts, it’s inspiring to periodically find a ‘life story’ that has a major moral-boosting ring to it. The following post is an example of one family’s ‘can do’ efforts to save wildlife in Africa and thus prevent one particular species from disappearing – forever.

In mid-February, 1966, the Geraldton Times Star included an article that informed its readership that Dr. John Goddard and his wife Shelley (nee: Milner) … ‘were now living in Africa, on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, a huge extinct volcano in the interior of Tanzania .. .’. John, prior to his move to Africa, was a Biologist on staff at the Ontario Department of Lands & Forests Geraldton District Office, The newspaper reported that he was actively involved with efforts to help preserve the survival of the well-known East African Black Rhinoceros. The position he filled, was one that ‘required exceptional dedication and a strong desire to preserve the animals from becoming extinct’.

Inside the crater of an extinct volcano, Dr. Goddard instructs their younger daughter in wildflower identification.

Thankfully the efforts undertaken by John and Shelley, along with their two young daughters were recorded in living colour. Goddard’s findings/the family’s daily activities, were the subject of a premier special of the GE (General Electric) Monogram Series, which was shown on NBC-TV in November of 1970. The Metro-GoldwynMayer Studios Inc. documentary was titled – ‘Kifaru – The Black Rhinoceros’. The narrator was the well-known E.G. Marshall.

After sedating a rhino cow weighing about a ton, Dr. John Goddard conducts a dental examination to determine its age. To the L, wife Shelley (mostly out of frame) assists.
Shelley Goddard with their two daughters, who are watching the process from a distance of a pebble’s throw.
The Goddard family in East Africa, after observing a huge flock of water birds.

For those who would like to view the film – it can be accessed on line at Kifaru – The Black Rhinoceros – Internet Archive ( It consists of two parts – the 1st runs for 28 minutes; the 2nd has a run time of 24 minutes. Watching the family’s daily life adventure and related achievements while they lived out-of-doors, is definitely time well spent.

[Editor’s Note : I viewed only the first film but it was an exciting and fascinating experience.]

The whole Goddard family in a Land Rover, checking out the black rhinos. The film follows Canadian biologist John Goddard in the first major scientific study of the black rhinoceros, a “prehistoric relic” believed to be facing extinction. Includes adventures as Goddard, his wife, and their two young daughters attempt to study the black rhinoceros.
Dr. Goddard and his crew “bulldog” a black rhino cowboy style. The sedative takes effect ten minutes after injection. The bull weighs about a ton and a half.
As the big bull regains its feet, it gets an assist from the crew. It is dozy for some minutes, but the crew soon takes shelter in their vehicle. An upset rhino, which occasionally charges vehicles, can attain speeds up to 35 mph.

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