It has never been white; it is simply a misnomer!
This species is categorized as Near Threatened due to the high poaching threat and involvement of organized international crime syndicates in satiating a demand for illegal horn in SE Asia (particularly Viet Nam and China).
The Northern (NWR) and Southern (SWR), two subspecies of the White Rhino, once roamed most of sub-Saharan Africa, but now their distribution is incredibly patchy.
The SWR had only one small population (20–50 animals) by the end of the 19th century, but with conservation efforts, they are currently thriving again. Poaching has driven the NWR to extinction in the wild, with only two females remaining.
Feb 2023: The BioRescue project, led by Professor Thomas Hildebrandt, is working to reverse the fate of the northern white rhino. Utilizing the latest in veterinary science and cell biology, the team is attempting to create a “test-tube baby” rhino, with the goal that the first new baby NWRs could be born as early as 2024.
Feb 2023: The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) has successfully overturned the decision to include certain wild animal species in the Animal Improvement Act 62 of 1998 (“AIA”), thereby protecting them from potential exploitation. This decision serves to preserve the rights of these vulnerable creatures and ensure their protection against any potential harm.
Did you know?
- Only five countries are home to about 98.5% white rhinos. Previously they lived in around forty-eight countries.
- Grassy savannas and woods with grassy clearings are their homes.
- White rhinos have a square upper lip, also known as the square-lipped rhinoceros.
- They feed exclusively on short grasses and can be described as ‘selective lawnmowers.’
- White rhinos are the second largest land mammal. They can weigh over 3500kg, heavier than black rhinos.
- White Rhinos are surprisingly fast for their size and weight and can run up to 40 km/h for brief periods1 rhino killed every 9 hours ( 2017, data). of time.
- 1 rhino killed every 9 hours ( 2017, data).
- White rhinos are the most social rhinos. They occasionally gather in groups of as many as a dozen individuals.
- White rhinos grow two horns, with the front being more prominent than the other. Rhino horns can grow up to 3 inches per year and can reach 5 feet.
- Unfortunately, myths about horns’ medicinal properties are responsible for killing Rhinos for their horns, especially used in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
- This hard hairlike growth (rhino horn) is brainlessly considered a status symbol and utilized as an ornamental dagger handle in North Africa and the Middle East.
- In Nov 2021, 30 white rhinos were translocated more than 3,400 kilometers (2,113 miles) from South Africa to Rwanda, which is the largest single rhino translocation in history.
- Recently, CITES COP19 downgraded the status of southern white rhinos. Despite an increase in poaching, the proposal to move the southern white rhino from Appendix I to Appendix II was approved at the 19th Conference of Parties, which is a significant blow to rhino conservation in Africa.
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Terrestrial / Aquatic
Altricial / Precocial
Polygamous / Monogamous
Dimorphic (size)/ Monomorphic
Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal
Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd
Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore
Migratory: Yes / No
Domesticated: Yes / No
Dangerous: Yes / No