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about rhinos

the top rhino facts (and myths) explained.

What do you know about white and black rhinos? These amazing animals have some unique habits which just make them even more adorable. Let’s go through the many facts – and myths – about rhinos, rhino poaching, the rhino horn trade, and orphaned baby rhinos. Here are some of the questions we are frequently asked in regard to our rhinos and the rhino orphanage.

RHINO: A THREATENED SPECIES

Is the rhino endangered?

Yes. Rhinos are endangered. The Sumatran, Javan and Black rhino are critically endangered, and the Indian rhino is endangered. The white rhino is reaching extinction rapidly and has only been saved from extinction due to proactive conservation efforts.

Why are rhinos going extinct?

The hunters of the Colonial era were responsible for killing thousands of animal species around the globe. Mega-herbivores such as elephants and rhinos were killed for sport, as well as for their horns and tusks – which were considered a symbol of wealth and status.

Nowadays, rhinos face extinction due to poaching, habitat loss, inbreeding, and fragmentation. Rhinos are brutally and cruelly poached (illegally killed) for their horns.

How many endangered rhinos are left?

The most endangered rhino species is the Sumatran Rhino, and only 275 are said to still survive.  However, this figure is considered elevated by experts who believe there may be as few as 30 surviving in the wild. Although around 50 rare Javan Rhinos have survived extinction, the population is considered stable. Only approximately 2600 Indian (Greater One-horned) Rhinos still survive.

The Black Rhino population stands at roughly 4000, and the White Rhino population at around 14 500. Only two female Northern White Rhinos are alive on the planet today.

As of 2019/2020, The Kruger National Park had lost 70% of their rhino population within the previous ten years. In 2008 the Kruger Park had around 10 880 rhinos, and the official census of 2020 reported only 2700 surviving rhinos. This number is decreasing daily as rhinos are poached in the Kruger National park and throughout South Africa.

The statistics vary from source to source regarding the actual number of wild rhinos that are still left on earth. The fact remains that rhino populations are decreasing DAILY, and should poaching continue at this rate, remaining rhino populations will not survive. 

Sumatran Rhino cc: Save The Rhino
Javan Rhino cc: IRF
Indian Rhino cc: Save The Rhino
White + Black Baby Rhino

Why should we save rhinos?

There are many reasons we should save rhinos, including environmental, economic and philosophical reasons.

From an environmental perspective, rhinos, like elephants, are mega-herbivores and are considered keystone species. Rhinos play an essential role in creating and maintaining robust and healthy ecosystems which give life to hundreds of other species of fauna and flora in their native countries. These ecosystems need to remain balanced, and rhinos are instrumental in maintaining this balance. 

To allow any animal to go extinct in the 21st century – for no good reason and especially when we know better – is short-sighted, selfish, irresponsible and lacking in conscience. 

From an economic perspective, rhinos are one of the Big Five mammals that people from all over the world travel to see in their natural habitat. When precious and extraordinary animals become extinct, there’s a negative impact on safari tourism and the overall economy of a country can become compromised.

From a philosophical perspective, rhinos are one of our last living links to the dawn of time – to a time before man walked the earth. It’s estimated that rhino lineage can be traced back to the Early Eocene era and that the African rhino’s lineage can be traced back to the Late Miocene era. 

Rhinos in Africa, rhino species in other parts of the world, and indeed all animal life, should be awarded exceptional value. While humans are responsible for the disruption and destruction of the natural world, animals and nature are self-regulating. This means they inherently maintain – and can often restore – natural balance. Humans can learn a lot from animal’s innate sense of collectivistic preservation.

Philosophically speaking, we could ask the question: Is life on Earth worth living if nature and all the wild animals have been destroyed?

about the rhino
rhino facts

When will rhinos become extinct?

A news report in 2016 stated that at least one rhino is killed by poachers in South Africa EVERY DAY, and South Africa’s rhinos could be extinct in 10 years. In other words, rhinos could be extinct by 2026. 

If drastic measures aren’t taken to reduce the demand for rhino horn, stop poaching, change global policy and laws, and actively protect rhinos globally, it’s possible that all rhinos could become extinct within our lifetime. The Western black rhino and Northern white rhinos have already been declared extinct in the wild. Mother and daughter Fatu and Najin, the last two Northern white rhinos on the planet, are kept safe by armed rangers in a conservancy in Kenya. 

Why are rhinos endangered?

Rhinos are endangered because of an irrational demand for rhino horn. Greed, ego, ignorance, and belief in mythical medicine drive the demand for rhino horn. Rhino horn is used to treat random ailments in Traditional Chinese Medicine, but increasingly, it’s used as a display of wealth and status. Rhino horn’s market value is more expensive than gold, which is why it’s considered a status symbol. However, rhino horn is simply keratin, a fibrous protein that’s a component of hair and finger nails. 

SAVING RHINOS

How can we save rhinos?

The first step to saving rhinos is to care about and give value to the natural world. The second step is to understand that all animals are sentient beings and that wild animals specifically play a vital environmental role on the planet. The third step is to outlaw the use of rhino horn globally. The fourth step is to actively support non-profit conservation organisations that protect all threatened species and endangered animals.

How to adopt a baby rhino?

Adopting a baby rhino is easy to do! While you may never get to meet your adopted baby rhino in real life, you will be given exclusive access to information regarding his/her welfare and progress. You’ll also be able to see updates on your adopted baby rhino and on our rhino sanctuary via our social media platforms.

How much is it to adopt a rhino?

You can adopt a baby rhino at The Rhino Orphanage for as little as $10 per month. The various adoption rate tiers are $10, $30, $50 or $100 per month. Each tier is granted the title of Supporter, Protector, Angel or Saver. Giving an adopted rhino as a gift to someone who cares deeply about wildlife is a mindful gesture. 

about the rhino

Where is the rhino orphanage?

Our rhino sanctuary is in the Limpopo Province in South Africa. However, in order to keep our rhinos protected and safe from poachers, the exact location of our rhino orphanage is considered top secret.

How much do rhino orphanages cost?

Our rhino orphanage expenses are in the region of 400,000 ZAR per month. This sum covers the rhinos food (supplementary grass and pellets), veterinary and medical costs, anti-poaching costs, security, specialised rhino equipment, fuel, training, salaries, daily administration, and repairs and maintenance of vehicles, land and buildings.

RHINO FACTS

Can a rhino swim?

African rhinos do not swim and can easily drown in deep water. However, Asian rhinos are strong swimmers.

How fast can a rhino run?

Rhinos can run up to 40-50 km/h or 30-40 mph. You’ll see a white baby rhino running in front of their mothers, while black rhinos calves will run behind their mothers, when threatened.

How soon can baby rhinos walk?

A newborn rhino will generally be up and walking within one hour after birth. However, it will remain wobbly on its legs for a few days.

How much does a baby rhino weigh?

The average birth weight of black rhinos is between 35.5 kg and 62.7 kg. A newborn white rhinoceros weighs between 40-50kgs. 

How soon does a baby rhino start drinking milk?

A newborn rhino should start nursing from its mother within the first five hours of being born. Rhinoceros milk is more dilute than that of other hoof stock, as it’s high in carbohydrates, low in solids and proteins, and very low in fat. The baby rhino will start grazing at around 2 months of age, but will continue to nurse until 12-18 months of age.

rhino facts

How long do rhino babies stay with their mothers?

Rhino calves remain with their mothers till they’re around 2-4 years old.

How long are rhinos pregnant?

A rhinos gestation period is between 15 to 16 months. A rhino mother will only have one calf every 2-3 years.

Where do rhinos live?

There are 5 species of rhinos left, Sumatran, Javan, Black Rhino, White Rhino and Greater one-horned (Indian rhino).  

Sumatran Rhinos can be found in Borneo and Sumatra in Indonesia. Their natural habitats are dense lowland tropical and sub-tropical forests, as well as dense highlands. 

Javan Rhinos can be found in Java, Indonesia. There’s only one small population of around 65 Javan Rhinos left in Ujung Kulon peninsular, Western Java, Indonesia. Although now confined to one small region, they used to occur in tropical, lowland and highland landscapes.

The Greater One-horned (Indian) rhino’s home is in India and Nepal. You’ll find them living in Savannas and Shrublands as well as Tropical and Subtropical Grasslands. 

Black Rhinos are native to Southern Africa and can be found in South Africa, eSwatini, Kenya, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi. Their natural habitats include both tropical and subtropical Grasslands, Savannas and Shrublands, as well as Deserts and Xeric Shrublands.

White Rhinos are found in the Tropical and Subtropical Grasslands, Savannas and Shrublands of South Africa, Uganda, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia, Namibia and eSwatini.

What is a rhinos lifespan and when is a rhino fully grown?

It takes 6-7 years for rhino cows to reach maturity and it takes around 10-12 years for a bull rhino to reach maturity.  Rhinos typically live to be 35-40 years of age in the wild. 

Why do rhinos like mud?

Rhinos use mud to help cool them down and to protect them from ticks, other biting insects and the sun. Mud also seals small wounds and prevents infestation by blowflies. Rhinos like to dust bathe, rub and scratch against trees and rocks, and wallow in mud.

why do rhinos like mud

Why are rhinos dangerous?

Rhinos are only dangerous if they feel threatened. That being said, it’s important to remember that they are wild animals and should be treated with appropriate respect, insight and reverence. Black rhinos tend to have more nervous temperaments, which makes them more inclined to startle, be vigilant, and defend themselves. White rhinos tend to flee when threatened, rather than fight. Rhino mothers are fiercely protective of their calves. 

Rhinos have weak eyesight but their sense of hearing and smell is acute.

African rhinos don’t “bite” as they don’t have incisors or canine teeth. Instead, they have big premolars and molars that are adapted for grinding vegetation. African Rhino species lack front teeth and rely on their lips to tear off grass or leaves while their molar teeth grind food.

What do rhinos eat?

Rhinos are herbivores and graze on grass and shoots. The cycle of them eating grass, bushes, small trees and shrubs means they ingest seeds. When they poop, these seeds are spread and often grow into more trees and shrubs. Sometimes, the rhino dung even provides nutrients for fish. These are some of the ways that they provide a fertile environment that nature can thrive in. Occasionally, rhinos will lick termite mounds to get necessary minerals that supplement their diet.

What is rhino poop used for?

The correct term for rhino poop is dung. Rhinos leave piles of dung, called middens, as “messages” for other rhinos about the other rhinos in the area. Urine and dung also creates invisible borders which mark out a rhinos territory.

Territorial males use their dung to mark their territories and spread their dung-scent by kicking backwards and scattering it. Rhino dung is collected and used to make artisanal paper, which is sold at some of South Africa’s safari lodges.

RHINO HORN & RHINO POACHING

Why do people buy rhino horn?

Historically, rhino horn was used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, the reasons for buying rhino horn have evolved with modernity. Instead of being used a remedy for ailments, the hefty price tag for rhino horn makes it a status symbol which fuels users egos. People buy rhino horn because of outdated beliefs about animal-based medical remedies. However, rhino horn is nothing other than “snake oil” – a substance with no proven medicinal value.

Lixin Huang, the President of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM)  released a statement opposing the use of rhino horn in medicines, stating that “There is no evidence that rhino horn is an effective cure for cancer and this is not documented in TCM nor is it approved by the clinical research in traditional Chinese medicine.” 

What are rhino horns used for?

Rhino horns are used by rhinos for defense, for foraging, for maternal care, as a digging tool to find water, and to assist them in navigating the wooded scrublands.

Rhino horn is used by humans who have disregard for animal life and the natural world. Rhino horn is used as a display of status, but it’s actually a display of ignorance and status-fragility.

Rhino horn is made of keratin, simply the same protein that constitutes hair and nails. People who use rhino horn might just as well sweep up hair and nails from a salon floor and use this instead. Keratin can no more cure infections and fevers, as eating wood could make you strong.

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What drives rhino horn demand?

There’s been a prevailing but incorrect belief in Traditional Chinese Medicine that claims rhino horn can cure all manner of ailments. The demand for rhino horn has increased in recent years in Asian countries due to the insatiable need to be perceived as powerful and important. Because rhino horn is extremely expensive, it attracts organised crime and greedy people who profit from suffering and death.

Why do people poach rhinos?

Rhinos are poached for money. Greed and organised crime are behind the illegal trade in animal parts, especially rhino horn which is very expensive. People want rhino horn because it makes them feel important, wealthy and powerful. Although rhino horn was historically used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, to treat infections and fever, myths about the “magical powers” of rhino horn have been disseminated in social discourse and by the media.

Poachers will even kill a rhino that has already be dehorned (by conservationists – to prevent poaching) out of spite, or simply so that they don’t waste their time tracking the same dehorned rhino again. 

What is rhino poaching prevention?

Rhino poaching prevention is normally done by specialised, armed anti-poaching teams. These anti-poaching units – such as The Black Mambas, an all-female anti-poaching unit – are highly trained, tenacious, dedicated, and frequently put themselves in harm’s way to protect vulnerable wildlife. Units such as these not only protect rhinos, they also serve as role models and educate communities about the benefits of conservation over the short-term satisfaction of poaching.

Illegal syndicates are behind the rhino horn trade and the fight to keep rhinos in existence is essentially a war between these illegal syndicates and conservation organisations.

photo cc: Phys.org

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