Rhino Species –
The Rhino, officially Rhinoceros, is one of the five surviving species of odd-toed ungulates in the family Rhinocerotidae of the Perissodactyla. The Black Rhino and the White Rhino are native to Africa, while the Indian Rhino, Sumatran Rhino and the Javan Rhino occur in Asia. ‘
The Rhinoceros belong to the few remaining mega-fauna surviving today and are characterised by their large size. All species can weigh more than a ton with the White Rhino being the second largest land mammal weighing up to 2,700 kg. All rhinos are herbivores, but some are specialised in browsing, while others are grazers. Rhinos have 1 or 2 horns, have a thick skin made of collagen arranged in a lattice structure and have a relatively small brain. Unlike other mammals of the Perissodactyla order the African Rhino species lack front teath and rely on their lips to tear off grass or leaves while their molar teeth grind food.
Although rhino horn is made of keratin, the same material as in hair, it’s thought to be an aphrodisiac in traditional Chinese medicine. The horn is also used for dagger handles in most Yemen and Oman. Because of this, rhino horn is very valuable and illegal poaching has caused rhino numbers to drop rapidly. Also habitat loss has caused most Rhino species to the brink of extinction.
According to CITES three of the five species, the Sumatran, Javan and Black Rhino are ‘critically endangered’. The Indian Rhino is listed as ‘endangered’, while only the White Rhino has been saved from the brink of extinction due to conservation efforts. At this moment the most endangered species is the Sumatran Rhino, because of it’s rapid decline. Of this species only 275 survive, but the Javan Rhino is even more rare, with only 50 surviving, but this population is stable. The Indian Rhino species counts 2,600 individuals, the Black Rhino 3,610 and the White Rhino 14,500. Several subspecies like the Northern White Rhino and the Eastern Black Rhino has been declared extinct in recent years, although some may survive.