One of the five species of Rhinoceros alive.
Scientific Name : Ceratotherium simum
Where is it found?
White Rhinoceroses are found in grassland and Savannah habitat. Once distributed all over Africa, the White Rhinos are now surviving in very few countries. The southern subspecies is found in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda. The southern white rhino was under severe threat in the early 20th century. But conservation measures helped and it is estimated to have around 20,170 specimens in wild as of December 2010. On the other hand, the northern white rhino is one of the rarest species on earth. It is currently found only in Garamba National Park of Congo Republic. Scientists and conversationalists are trying the save this species with numbers less than 10.
How does it live?
White rhinos are most social rhino species. Their herd may comprise of 10-15 most of them are female. Most adult males are solitary and they mark their territory with excrement and urine. The mating period is normally of just 5-10 days. Gestation occurs around 16–18 months. A single calf is born and usually weighs between 40 and 65 kg. A white rhino can live up to 35-40 years.
How does it look?
The white rhinos are world’s second largest land mammal after Elephants. The head and body length is 3.4 to 4.2 meters (11 to 14 ft). They may weigh till 4500 kgs. The males are heavier than the females. They have two horns. The front horn is larger than the back and can length up to 1.5 meter. Horns are made of compressed hair. Like most rhinoceroses, the young are quite hairy but adults are hairless except for their ear rims, tail tip and eyelashes.
What are the threats?
White Rhinoceros is legally protected across all habitats, but the survival of the species is threatened. Human activities are the primary threat to this large mammal. Habitat is destroyed by the expansion of settlement. But the most serious threat is poaching. Every year great number of the animals are poached for their horns, which are prized extra-ordinarily in some Asian countries, special in China, for their supposed value as an aphrodisiac and other medicine. Another reason why this animal is poached is the ornamental value of it’s horn in the international market.
The conservation requirements for both the sub species of white rhinoceros are completely different. Northern white rhinoceros is considered one of the rarest mammal on earth, while Southern white rhinoceros is set as an example of successful conservation effort. many effective measures of conservation have been taken to protect the White Rhinoceros. Many remaining rhino are now concentrated in fenced sanctuaries, conservancies, rhino conservation areas and intensive protection zones. Over 5,500 White Rhino across Africa are now managed by the private sector throughout Africa with the majority in South Africa. Starting 1977, all African rhino species were listed on CITES Appendix I, and all international commercial trade in rhinos and their products was prohibited. However all these efforts frequently find set back from various human factors. The increasing black market prices for rhino horn, and increased poaching of rhino and involvement of criminal syndicates in recent years pose a significant threat to rhino populations. Also the private management of the Rhinos are declining because of increasing protection costs and risks involved.
A Documentary on rare Northern White Rhinoceros