Latin Name - Ceratotherium simum
Conservation Status - Near Threatened
Location - Savannas of sub-Saharan Africa
Diet - Herbivorous
Colour - Grey
Height - 5-6ft (1.5-1.8m) tall to shoulder
Weight - 4,000-6,000lbs (1,800-2,700kg)
Life Expectancy - Up to 50 years
White Rhinos are the second largest land mammal and their name comes from the Afrikaan’s, a West Germanic language, word “weit” which means wide and refers to the animal’s mouth. Also known as the square-lipped rhinoceros, white rhinos have a square upper lip with almost no hair. Two genetically different subspecies exist, the nothnern and southern white rhino and are found in two different regions in Africa.
As of March 2018, there are only two rhinos of the northern white rhino left, both of which are female. They live in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya and are protected round-the-clock by armed guards. Their near extinction is due to decades of rampant poaching for rhino horn.
How do they act?
White rhinos live on Africa's grassy plains, where they sometimes gather in groups of as many as a dozen individuals. Females reproduce only every two and a half to five years. Their single calf does not live on its own until it is about three years old.
Under the hot African sun, white rhinos take cover by lying in the shade. Rhinos are also wallowers. They find a suitable water hole and roll in its mud, coating their skin with a natural bug repellent and sunblock. Rhinos have sharp hearing and a keen sense of smell. They may find one another by following the trail of scent each enormous animal leaves behind it on the landscape.
WHAT DANGERS DO THEY FACE?
The poaching of rhinos to supply rhino horn into illegal markets principally in parts of Asia where it’s used in traditional medicines and tonics, and as a high-end gift and investment, is a major factor in the decline of rhinos.
Between 2008-2017, more than 7,000 rhino were killed by poachers in South Africa alone. The poachers don’t care about the welfare of the animals, and many rhinos are left to suffer and die after their horns have been hacked off. Baby rhinos are also killed for their tiny horn stubs, or left to starve.