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Rhinoceros | Endangered Species Series

Updated: May 29


There are five different species of rhinoceros, with 11 subspecies, that are at different levels of endangerment, but continue to be threatened (human encroachment, poaching, etc) and need our protection to stabilize, grow, and thrive.

Ranging from 1300 - 6000 lbs, 3 - 6.5 ft at the shoulder, and 6.5 - 15 ft from head to tail, the different species of rhinos have unique features, including number of horns and snout shape, but all are herbivores. The specific vegetation they eat differs according to species because their snouts are shaped differently to accommodate different types foods. The largest species of rhino is the White Rhino and the smallest is the Sumatran Rhino. A group of rhinos is called a 'crash' and their closest living relative is tapirs, horses, and zebras.

By Species:

  1. Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus) - critically endangered: probably fewer than 44 individuals in the wild; residing in Indonesia's Ujung Kulon National Park - though they once roamed in 9 other countries; Rhino Protection Units (RPUs) have been established to protect the population within the park and conservation efforts are being made to expand their livable habitat and identify a possible location to introduce a second population

  2. Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) - critically endangered: no more than 100 individuals in the wild; residing in Indonesia's Bukit Barisan Selatan, Gunung Leuser, and Way Kambas National Parks, as well as small unprotected forests of Sabah, Malaysia; this species is continuously threathened by human encroachment of their tropical forest habitat and poaching

  3. Greater One-horned Rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis) - vulnerable: possibly over 3,3000 individuals in the wild; residing in India and Nepal; due to protection and reintroduction efforts and despite increased poaching, the population has remained stable; the Indian state of Assam has the largest population (2,400) in the Kaziranga, Manas, and Orang National Parks, and the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

  4. Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis) - critically endangered: just over 5,000 individuals in the wild; despite the heavy and sophisticated poaching activity (particularly in South Africa) the population has remained stable and is slowly increasing due because normal reproduction rates are offsetting mortality rates and anti-poaching efforts; residing 9 countries - Republic of South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland, and Botswana

  5. White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum) - near threatened: 20,400 individuals in the wild; the population has remained stable despite aggressive poaching (1-2 individuals killed daily in South Africa in 2012) - the situation is certainly unsustainable long-term, however; residing in 7 countries - Republic of South Africa (majority of population), Namibia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Boswana, Swaziland, and Uganda (Mozambique lost the last of its population in 2012); the key to keeping this population stable over time is to establish protected wild and free-ranging populations and getting countries to enforce their wildlife crime laws.


Please continue to learn about our endangered species and how you can help protect them for years to come. It takes all of us to ensure these animals don't leave us forever!

Thank you for reading!




Sources: International Rhino Foundation and LiveScience




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