Rhino Species - Rhinocerotidae
The Rhino, officially Rhinoceros, is one of the six 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 teeth 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 and a cure for pretty much everything in traditional Chinese medicine. The horn is also used for dagger handles in Yemen and Oman. Because of this, rhino horn is very valuable and illegal poaching has caused rhino numbers to drop rapidly. Several subspecies like the Northern White Rhino and the Eastern Black Rhino have been declared extinct in recent years, although some may survive.
For any interesting document, titled "A Review Of Rhinoceros Horn", please click here.
Black Rhino - Diceros bicornis
The Black Rhinoceros is a herbivorous browser that belongs to the order of the Perissodactyla. It’s one of the two species of Rhinos native to Africa and it’s current range includes Southern and Eastern areas of Africa. There are about 3,610 Black Rhino still left in the wild, but it has been estimated that there were about 70,000 in the late 1960s. The Black Rhino has seen the most drastic decline of all rhino species, because of poaching and habitat loss. But due to conservation efforts numbers are stabilising and slowly rising, although tremendous effort is still needed to secure the future for the Black Rhino. There are four subspecies of Black Rhino, but the West African Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) is tentatively declared extinct.
Black Rhino Facts
|Black Rhino Behaviour
||Black Rhino Reproduction
Black Rhino Distribution
|Black Rhino Diet
The taxonomy of the subspecies of the black rhino remains unresolved and needs further study. There are two parallel views at present.
Groves (1967) proposed the distinction of seven subspecies, based on a study of skeletal material, distribution and previous studies. This was amended to include an 8th subspecies by Groves & Grubb (2011):
- Diceros bicornis bicornis, Western South Africa, Southern Namibia. Extinct since about 1800.
- Diceros bicornis chobiensis, Angola, Botswana.
- Diceros bicornis minor, Northern Namibia, Eastern South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Southern Uganda, Tanzania.
- Diceros bicornis occidentalis, Northern Namibia.
- Diceros bicornis michaeli, Eastern and Northern Kenya, Northern Tanzania.
- Diceros bicornis bruciiSomalia, Ethiopia, Eastern Sudan.
- Diceros bicornis ladoensisSouthern Sudan, Uganda, Western Kenya.
- Diceros bicornis longipesWest African countries.
The African Rhino Specialist Group recommends the distinction of four subspecies based on a pragmatic view which probably ignores the extinct subspecies.
The South-central Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis minor) is the most numerous of all Black Rhino subspecies.
The South-western Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis bicornis) is better adapted to dry climates and occurs in the arid savannas. The main difference with the others subspecies is the large and straight horn.
The East African Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis michaeli) prefers highland forest and savanna habitat. It also has a longer, leaner, and curved horn and it’s skin is more grooved.
The West African Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) is the rarest and most endangered subspecies, with only 10 surviving in 2003. But on July 8, 2006 the subspecies was declared to be extinct.
The Department of Biodiversity & Conservation Biology
Black rhino information by The Department of Biodiversity & Conservation Biology. A resource from the The University of the Western Cape, South Africa.
Arkive - Black Rhino
the Black Rhino on ARKive, a unique collection of thousands of videos, images and fact-files illustrating the world's species to save their digital footprint for future generations.
WWF: Black Rhino Info
Extensive information by the World Wildlife Fund on the Black Rhino. Covers physiology, threats, habitat and much more.
White Rhino - Ceratotherium simum
The White Rhinoceros is a herbivorous grazer belonging to the order of the Perissodactyla and is the second most massive remaining land animal in the world. It is one of the two species of Rhinos native to Africa. Its current range is primarily Southern Africa. There are about 14,500 White Rhino still left in the wild, and their survival today portraits one of conservation succes stories as their numbers were less than 100 in 1895. In recent years the Northern Nile Rhino subspecies has been pushed to (the brink of) extinction due to poaching in Congo and the inaccesibility for conservation organisations due to the civil war. It is now believed that no rhinos remain in Garamba National park, but efforts are still being made to save this subspecies from captive stock.
White Rhino Facts
||White Rhino Behaviour
||White Rhino Reproduction
|White Rhino Distribution
||White Rhino Diet
White Rhinoceros: Although its name suggests its colour to be white, the colour of the rhino is in fact greyish-brown. Most sources will tell you that the term white is derived from the Dutch 'wide', which would describe its wide upper lip or maybe wide spread occurence. There is however no proof of this as there is no reference to Wyd-Renoster or any other name of this kind in literature. It is therefore highly unlikely that the term 'White' in White Rhinoceros has been derived from a Dutch or Africaans word. The exact source of the white in White Rhino is still unknown. See Rookmaaker, L.C., 2003 for more theories.
Square-Lipped Rhinoceros: The wide upper lip of the White Rhino is adapted to grazing and is perfect fro tearing of grass.
The scientific name for the White Rhino is Ceratotherium simum. Ceratotherium being from the Greek cerato for “horn” and therium meaning “wild beast”. Simum is from the Greek simus meaning “flat nosed ”. Throughout history the White Rhino has been referred to using quite a lot of different scientific names. View a list of White Rhino Scientific names.
The Southern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum) is the most numerous of all White Rhino subspecies.
The Northern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) is the rarest and most endangered subspecies, and probably extinct in the wild. The main difference with the Southern White Rhino is its larger horn, which can be up to 2 m long. This animal is now regarded as a separate species based on morphological and genetic data, see Nile Rhinoceros ((Ceratotherium cottoni().
WWF: White Rhino Info
Extensive information by the World Wildlife Fund on the White Rhino. Covers physiology, threats, habitat and much more.
Arkive - White Rhino
The White Rhino on ARKive, a unique collection of thousands of videos, images and fact-files illustrating the world's species to save their digital footprint for future generations.
African Conservation Foundation works to preserve Africa's wild heritage by supporting and linking conservation initiatives throughout the continent as well as by conducting field projects.