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White Rhino

Scientific Name: Ceratotherium simum

Description

The white rhino is the second largest land mammal after the elephant. It has two horns with the front horn being much larger. The rhino uses its distinctive horn to intimidate others, protect itself and dig. The white rhino’s wide, square, upper lip and broad snout make it well equipped for grazing on grasses.

White rhinos are semi-social and territorial. Females and young generally live in groups while bulls are traditionally solitary.

Range

White rhinos historically ranged the savanna grasslands throughout central and southern Africa. Today, they are limited to southern Africa with the largest populations in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.

Status

In the early 1900s, fewer than 50 southern white rhinos existed in the wild after they were hunted for their horns for centuries. Dedicated conservationists and the government of South Africa teamed up to bring that number up to nearly 18,000 today.

Unfortunately, in recent years the demand for rhino horns has created highly organized criminal groups. From 2012 to 2017, poaching caused a 15% decrease in white rhino numbers. Most rhinos in the wild today live in areas that are heavily protected by law enforcement to prevent poaching.