Why are rhino’s named white or black rhinos?
Are white Rhino’s really white? Don’t let the name fool you, rhinos are grey in color, not black or white as their names suggest. White rhinos have a flat, wide lip to graze on grasses. In Afrikaans and in English – “weid” or “wide” lipped rhino was mistakenly understood to be white rhino.
The northern white rhinoceros is one of the two subspecies of the white rhinoceros (the other being the southern white rhinoceros). This subspecies used to roam the grasslands of central and east Africa.
The sole threat to white rhinos is human greed! They have few predators in the wild given their size. Years of hunting, poaching and civil war in these areas have driven the northern white rhino population to near extinction.
Humans poach rhinos for their horns. The rhino horn is used to make traditional medicines or used as artwork. It is considered to be very precious in Vietnam and China. The wholesale price for raw horn is roughly 40 times more per kilogram than raw ivory (ivory is a hard, white material from an elephant’s tusk).
Today only 3 northern white rhino remain. Sudan is the last surviving male. The 45-year-old lives with two females—Fatu and Najin—in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. To keep them safe the Conservancy has built an enclosure with high security. The animals’ food, security and health is looked after 24/7 by experts.
The fate of the subspecies lies in the 2 female rhinos’ ability to have more offsprings. Unfortunately, neither of the females have the natural ability to reproduce.
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is trying to raise USD 1 million. The money will be used to help scientists in the lab try and use technology to help the female rhinos reproduce. We hope that scientists can save this dying species and preserve Africa’s heritage.
What about the southern white rhinos?
The southern white rhinoceros is the most common and widespread subspecies of rhinoceros. The South African Government conservation efforts have helped to grow the population in South Africa to some 20,000 rhinos.