THE ENORMOUS – RHINO

(Scientific Name – Rhinocerotidae)

  • A RHINOCEROS (Rhinocerotidae) is one of any five extant species of odd-toed ungulates in the family Rhinocerotidae, as well as any of the numerous extinct species therein. Two of the extant species are native to Africa, and three to Southern Asia. The term “Rhinoceros” is often more broadly applied to now extinct species of the superfamily Rhinocerotoidea.
  • Members of the Rhinoceros family are some of the largest remaining megafauna, with all species able to reach or exceed one tonne in weight.
  • They have a Herbivorous diet, small brains (400–600 g) for mammals of their size, one or two horns, and a thick (1.5–5 cm) protective skin formed from layers of collagen positioned in a lattice structure.
  • They generally eat leafy material, although their ability to ferment food in their hindgut allows them to subsist on more fibrous plant matter when necessary. Unlike other perissodactyls, the two African species of rhinoceros lack teeth at the front of their mouths, relying instead on their lips to pluck food.

TAXONOMY AND NAMING

The word rhinoceros is derived through Latin from the Ancient Greek: ῥῑνόκερως, which is composed of ῥῑνο- (rhino-, “nose”) and κέρας (keras, “horn”) with a horn on the nose. The plural in English is rhinoceros or rhinoceroses. The collective noun for a group of rhinoceroses is crash or herd. The name has been in use since the 14th century.

POACHING

  • Poaching, driven by consumer demand for Rhino horn primarily in Asia, poses the biggest threat to Rhinos. Most of these horns find their way into the illegal market in Vietnam, where law enforcement is weak and criminal networks grind up the horns to sell for use in traditional medicines or sell them whole as a high-value gift item. China is an important consumer market as well, where rhino horn enters art and antique markets and is sometimes acquired as an investment purchase.
  • As the growing middle class in both China and Vietnam become more affluent and can afford the high cost of Rhino horn, they are driving up the demand on the international black market.

There are 5 type of Rhinoceros species in world. so now here we’ll know about their characteristics.

WHITE RHINOCEROS

(Scientific Name – Ceratotherium simum)

  • There are two subspecies of white rhinoceros: the southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum) and the northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni).
  •  As of 2013, the southern subspecies has a wild population of 20,405 – making them the most abundant rhino subspecies in the world. However, the northern subspecies is critically endangered, with all that is known to remain being two captive females.
  • There is no conclusive explanation of the name “White Rhinoceros”. A popular idea that “white” is a distortion of either the Afrikaans word wyd or the Dutch word wijd (or its other possible spellings whyde, weit, etc.,), meaning “wide” and referring to the rhino’s square lips, is not supported by linguistic studies.

WEIGHT AND SIZE

  • The White Rhino has an immense body and large head, a short neck and broad chest. Females weight 1,600 kg (4,000 lb) and males 2,400 kg (5,000 lb).
  • The head-and-body length is 3.5–4.6 m (11–15 ft) and the shoulder height is 1.8–2 m (5.9–6.6 ft).
  • On its snout it has two horns. The front horn is larger than the other horn and averages 90 cm (35 in) in length and can reach 150 cm (59 in).

REPRODUCTION

  • Females reach sexual maturity at 6–7 years of age while males reach sexual maturity between 10–12 years of age.
  • The gestation period of a white rhino is 16 months.
  • A single calf is born and usually weighs between 40 and 65 kg (88 and 143 lb).
  • Calves are unsteady for their first two to three days of life. When threatened, the baby will run in front of the mother, which is very protective of her calf and will fight for it vigorously.
  • Weaning starts at two months, but the calf may continue suckling for over 12 months.
  • The birth interval for the white rhino is between two and three years. Before giving birth, the mother will chase off her current calf.
  • White Rhinos can live to be up to 40–50 years old.
  • Adult white rhinos have no natural predators (other than humans) due to their size, and even young rhinos are rarely attacked or preyed on due to the mother’s presence and their tough skin. One exceptional successful attack was perpetrated by a lion pride on a roughly half-grown white rhinoceros, which weighed 1,055 kg (2,326 lb), and occurred in Mala Mala Game Reserve, South Africa.

MODERN CONSERVATION TATICS

  • The northern white rhino is critically endangered to the point that only two of these rhinos are known to remain in the world, both in captivity. Several conservation tactics have been taken to prevent this subspecies from disappearing from the planet.
  • Perhaps the most notable type of conservation efforts for these rhinos is having moved them from Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic to Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy on 20 December 2009.
  • Where they have been under constant watch every day, and have been given favorable climate and diet, to which they have adapted well, in order to boost their chances of reproducing.
  • On 22 August 2019, using (ICSI), eggs from Fatu and Najin “were successfully inseminated” using the seminal fluid from Saut and Suni. The male Sudan’s sperm was harvested before his death and is still in Kenya. 
  • On 11 September 2019, it was announced that “two embryos” were generated and will be kept in a frozen state, until placed in a surrogate female. 
  • On 15 January 2020, it was announced that “another embryo” was created using the same techniques, all three embryos are “from Fatu”.

BLACK RHINOCEROS

(Scientific Name – Diceros bicorni)

  • The name “black rhinoceros” (Diceros bicornis) was chosen to distinguish this species from the white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum). This can be confusing, as the two species are not truly distinguishable by color.
  • There are four subspecies of black rhino: South-central (Diceros bicornis minor), the most numerous, which once ranged from central Tanzania south through Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to northern and eastern South Africa, South-western (Diceros bicornis occidentalis) which are better adapted to the arid and semi-arid savannas of Namibia, southern Angola, western Botswana and western South Africa, East African (Diceros bicornis michaeli), primarily in Tanzania, and West African (Diceros bicornis longipes) which was declared extinct in November 2011.
  • During the latter half of the 20th century, their numbers were severely reduced from an estimated 70,000 in the late 1960s to a record low of 2,410 in 1995.
  • Since then, numbers have been steadily increasing at a continental level with numbers doubling to 4,880 by the end of 2010. However, as of 2008, the current numbers are still 90% lower than three generations ago.

WEIGHT AND SIZE

  • An adult Black Rhinoceros stands 1.50–1.75 m (59–69 in) high at the shoulder and is 3.5–3.9 m (11–13 ft) in length. 
  • An adult weighs from 850 to 1,600 kg (1,870 to 3,530 lb), exceptionally to 1,800 kg (4,000 lb), with the females being smaller than the males.
  • Two horns on the skull are made of keratin with the larger front horn typically 50 cm long, exceptionally up to 140 cm.
  • Sometimes, a third smaller horn may develop. 
  • The black rhino is much smaller than the white rhino, and has a pointed mouth, which it uses to grasp leaves and twigs when feeding.

REPRODUCTION

  • The Black Rhino adults are solitary in nature, coming together only for mating. Mating does not have a seasonal pattern but births tend to be towards the end of the rainy season in more arid environments.
  • The gestation period for a black rhino is 15 months.
  • The single calf weighs about 35–50 kilograms (80–110 lb) at birth, and can follow its mother around after just three days.
  • Weaning occurs at around 2 years of age for the offspring. The mother and calf stay together for 2–3 years until the next calf is born, female calves may stay longer, forming small groups. The young are occasionally taken by hyenas and lions.
  • Sexual maturity is reached from 5 to 7 years old for females, and 7 to 8 years for males. The life expectancy in natural conditions (without poaching pressure) is from 35 to 50 years.

MODERN CONSERVATION TATICS

  • For most of the 20th century the continental black rhino was the most numerous of all rhino species. Around 1900 there were probably several hundred thousand living in Africa.
  • During the latter half of the 20th century their numbers were severely reduced from an estimated 70,000 in the late 1960s to only 10,000 to 15,000 in 1981.
  • In the early 1990s the number dipped below 2,500, and in 2004 it was reported that only 2,410 black rhinos remained.
  • According to the International Rhino Foundation—housed in Yulee, Florida at White Oak Conservation, which breeds black rhinos—the total African population had recovered to 4,240 by 2008 (which suggests that the 2004 number was low). By 2019 the population of 5,500 was either steady or slowly increasing.

INDIAN RHINOCEROS

(Scientific Name – Rhinoceros unicornis)

  • The Indian Rhinoceros, or greater one-horned rhinoceros, (Rhinoceros unicornis) has a single horn 20 to 60 cm long. It is nearly as large as the African white rhino.
  • Its thick, silver-brown skin folds into the shoulder, back, and rump, giving it an armored appearance. Its upper legs and shoulders are covered in wart-like bumps, and it has very little body hair.
  • Indian rhinos once inhabited many areas ranging from Pakistan to Myanmar and maybe even parts of China. However, because of human influence, they now exist in only several protected areas of India (in Assam, West Bengal, and a few pairs in Uttar Pradesh) and Nepal, plus a pair in Lal Suhanra National Park in Pakistan reintroduced there from Nepal. They are confined to the tall grasslands and forests in the foothills of the Himalayas. Two-thirds of the world’s Indian rhinoceroses are now confined to the Kaziranga National Park situated in the Golaghat district of Assam, India.

WEIGHT AND SIZE

  • Grown males are larger than females in the wild, weighing from 2,500–3,200 kg (5,500–7,100 lb). Shoulder height is 1.75–2.0 m (5.7–6.6 ft). Females weigh about 1,900 kg (4,200 lb) and are 3–4 m (9.8–13 ft) long.
  • The record-sized specimen was approximately 4,000 kg (8,800 lb).

REPRODUCTION

  • Captive males breed at 5 years of age, but wild males attain dominance much later when they are larger.
  • In one five-year field study, only one rhino estimated to be younger than 15 years mated successfully.
  • Captive females breed as young as four years of age, but in the wild, they usually start breeding only when 6 years old, which likely indicates they need to be large enough to avoid being killed by aggressive males.
  • Their gestation period is around 15.7 months,
  • Their birth interval ranges from 34–51 months.
  • In captivity, four rhinos are known to have lived over 40 years, the oldest living to be 47.

MODERN CONSERVATION TATICS

  • Rhinoceros unicornis has been listed in CITES Appendix I since 1975. The Indian and Nepalese governments have taken major steps towards Indian rhinoceros conservation, especially with the help of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and other non-governmental organisations.
  • In the early 1980s, a rhino translocation scheme was initiated. The first pair of rhinos was reintroduced from Nepal’s Terai to Pakistan’s Lal Suhanra National Park in Punjab in 1982.

JAVAN RHINOCEROS

(Scientific Name – Rhinoceros sondaicu)

  • The Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus) is one of the most endangered large mammals in the world.
  • According to 2015 estimates, only about 60 remain, in Java, Indonesia, all in the wild. It is also the least known rhino species. Like the closely related, and larger, Indian rhinoceros, the Javan rhino has a single horn. Its hairless, hazy gray skin falls into folds into the shoulder, back, and rump, giving it an armored appearance.
  • These animals prefer dense lowland rain forest, tall grass and reed beds that are plentiful with large floodplains and mud wallows.
  • Though once widespread throughout Asia, by the 1930s they were nearly hunted to extinction in Nepal, India, Burma, Peninsular Malaysia, and Sumatra for the supposed medical powers of their horns and blood. As of 2015, only 58–61 individuals remain in Ujung Kulon National Park, Java, Indonesia.
  • The last known Javan rhino in Vietnam was reportedly killed for its horn in 2011 by Vietnamese poachers. Now only Java contains the last Javan rhinos.

WEIGHT AND SIZE

  • Its length reaches 3.1–3.2 m (10–10 ft) including the head, and its height 1.5–1.7 m (4 ft 11 in–5 ft 7 in). Adults are variously reported to weigh 900–1,400 kg or 1,360–2,000 kg
  • Male horns can reach 26 cm in length, while in females they are knobs or altogether absent. These animals prefer dense lowland rain forest, tall grass and reed beds that are plentiful with large floodplains and mud wallows.

REPRODUCTION

  • Female Javan rhinos reach maturity at 3 – 4 years whereas males reach maturity much later – around 6 years of age.
  • A single calf is born to the female every 4 – 5 years, the young are suckled for up to 2 years.
  • With the exception of mothers and calves and mating pairs, the Javan rhino is a very solitary individual. However, they sometimes congregate at salt-licks and wallow sites.

MODERN CONSERVATION TATICS

  • The main factor in the continued decline of the Javan rhinoceros population has been poaching for horns, a problem that affects all rhino species.
  • The horns have been a traded commodity for more than 2,000 years in China, where they are believed to have healing properties. Historically, the rhinoceros hide was used to make armor for Chinese soldiers, and some local tribes in Vietnam believed the hide could be used to make an antidote for snake venom. Because the rhinoceros’ range encompasses many areas of poverty, it has been difficult to convince local people not to kill a seemingly (otherwise) useless animal which could be sold for a large sum of money.

SUMATRAN RHINOCEROS

(Scientific Name – Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)

  • The Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is the smallest extant rhinoceros species, as well as the one with the most hair.
  • It can be found at very high altitudes in Borneo and Sumatra. Due to habitat loss and poaching, their numbers have declined and it has become the most threatened rhinoceros.
  • About 275 Sumatran rhinos are believed to remain.
  • There are three subspecies of Sumatran rhinoceros: the Sumatran rhinoceros proper (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis sumatrensis), the Bornean rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis harrissoni) and the possibly extinct Northern Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis lasiotis).
  • The color of these rhinos is reddish brown. The body is short and has stubby legs. The lip is prehensile.

WEIGHT AND SIZE

  • A mature rhino typically stands about 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in) high at the shoulder, has a length of 2.4–3.2 m (7 ft 10 in–10 ft 6 in) and weighs around 700 kg (1,500 lb), though the largest individuals have been known to weigh as much as 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb). Like the African species.
  • It has two horns; the larger is the front (25–79 centimetres (9.8–31.1 in)), with the smaller usually less than 10 centimetres (3.9 in) long. Males have much larger horns than the females. Hair can range from dense (the densest hair in young calves) to sparse.

REPRODUCTION

  • Females become sexually mature at the age of 6-7 years, while males become sexually mature at about 10 years old.
  • The gestation period is around 15–16 months.
  • The calf, which typically weighs 40–60 kg (88–132 lb), is weaned after about 15 months and stays with its mother for the first two to three years of its life. In the wild, the birth interval for this species is estimated to be four to five years.

MODERN CONSERVATION TATICS

  • Sumatran rhinoceroses were once quite numerous throughout Southeast Asia. Fewer than 100 individuals are now estimated to remain. 
  • The species is classed as critically endangered (primarily due to illegal poaching) while the last survey in 2008 estimated that around 250 individuals survived. From the early 1990s, the population decline was estimated at more than 50% per decade, and the small, scattered populations now face high risks of inbreeding depression. Most remaining habitat is in relatively inaccessible mountainous areas of Indonesia.
  • Poaching of Sumatran rhinoceros is a cause for concern, as the price of its horn has been estimated as high as US$30,000 per kilogram.
  • The rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia, which the Sumatran rhino inhabits, are also targets for legal and illegal logging because of the desirability of their hardwoods.
  • Rare woods such as merbau, meranti and semaram are valuable on the international markets, fetching as much as $1,800 per m3 ($1,375 per cu yd). Enforcement of illegal-logging laws is difficult because humans live within or near many of the same forests as the rhino.

VERY IMPORTANT TO UNEDRSTAND

  • Rhino poaching levels hit record highs in 2015, with poachers slaughtering at least 1,300 rhinos in Africa. 691 were poached in South Africa in 2017. That number slightly decreased in 2018 with 508 Rhinos poached.
  • The South African Department of Environmental Affairs announced that 318 rhinos have been poached in the first 6 months of 2019. There have been more than 9,000 rhinos poached across Africa over the last decade.
  • It’s hard to realize that if we don’t stop doing such things now. We can’t see them in our planet in some years after. Please show your awareness about that things.  
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