Long ago rhinos were widespread across Africa’s savannas and Asia’s tropical forests. They have walked the earth for over 60 million years and for a while there were 30 rhino species. In recent decades rhinos have been relentlessly hunted to the point of near extinction. Since 1970 the world rhino population has declined by 90 percent, with five species remaining in the world today, all of which are endangered. Two of them live in Africa (white rhino and black rhino) and three in Asia (Javan rhino, the Sumatran rhino and the Indian rhino) Sadly very few rhinos survive outside national parks and reserves becuase of poachers.
Besides humans, rhionos have no natural enemies and it’s a constant battle against time if we can to save them!
There are five species of rhinos two African and three Asian. The African species are the white and black rhinos. Both species have two horns. Asian rhinos include the Indian and the Javan, each with one horn, and the Sumatran, which has two.
The white rhino is the second largest land mammal next to the elephant. The five species range in weight from 750 pounds to 8,000 pounds and stand anywhere from four and a half to six feet tall.
Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis): 2,400
White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum): 7,500
Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis): 400
Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus): fewer than 100
Indian Rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis): more than 2,000
Biologists estimate that wild rhinos live up to 35-40 years. In captivity, a rhino may live 40-50 years.
Rhinos are found in parts of Africa and Asia.
Rhino habitat ranges from savannas to dense forests in tropical and subtropical regions.
Rhinos are herbivores, meaning they eat only plants. White rhinos, are ideally suited to graze on grass. Other rhinos prefer to eat the foliage of trees or bushes.
Are solitary creatures, both male and female rhinos establish territories.
After mating, the pair go their separate ways. A calf is born 14 to 18 months later. Although they nurse for a year, calves are able to begin eating vegetation one week after birth.
Rhinos rank among the most endangered species on Earth. Valued for their horns, they face a serious threat from poaching. Some cultures believe that the rhinos horns are believed to have a number of medicinal properties, none of which have been scientifically proven to be true. This “traditional medicine” industry is predominantly in Asia (China, Vietnam, Japan). Some of the applications of rhino horn include the treatment of various cancers, nausea, stomach maladies, hallucinations, snake bites, food poisoning and even demon possession. Contrary to popular belief, traditional Asian medicine does not prescribe rhino horn to treat impotence. However, since the rhino horn is made up of keratin (the same material as human nails and hair), it possesses none of these abilities in its own right.
Rhino horn is also used for intricately carved crockery and ornaments, which has become extremely valuable.
Did you know?
Rhinos may look indestructible, However, their skin is actually quite sensitive, especially to sunburn and biting insects. That is why they like to wallow in mud. Egrets and other birds can be found resting on rhinos backs, feeding on the species external parasites, mainly ticks. The Egrets will make a loud noise and warn the rhino if danger is near.
Did you know?
The Black and White rhinos are not different in color but in lip shape. The black rhino has a pointed upper lip, while the white rhino has a more squared lip. The difference in lip shape is related to the animals’ diets. The black rhinos are browsers that get most of their sustenance from eating trees and bushes, as they use their lips to pluck leaves and fruit from the branches. White rhinos graze on grasses, walking with their enormous heads and squared lips lowered to the ground.
Did you know?
Humans is the rhinos biggest Predator!
Humans is the cause of the demise of the rhino. In the wild, the rhino has no true natural predators! Sadly, rhinos are under increasing threat as organised crime cartels target them for their horns. In fact, human beings continue to be the only predator against which these herbivorous giants have to fight. By increasing awareness and appealing to visitors to be responsible tourists when choosing experiences and service providers, it is possible to make a difference and take an active stand against the problems facing rhinos.