Rhinos are one of the most critically endangered species on earth. Not too long ago, at the turn of the 20th century, over 500,000 of the large mammals could be found roaming across Africa and Asia. The awful rise of poaching for rhino horn and habitat loss has since decimated the rhino population. There are currently close to only 27,427 rhinos left in the wild outside parks and sanctuaries. 

Rhino horn is poached to sell on the black market mostly in China and Vietnam. The misconception that the keratin in rhino horn has medicinal properties that can cure a variety of ailments from hangovers to erectile dysfunction has made rhino poaching lucrative. The illegal trade has kept the value of rhino horn on the black market higher than gold, making it worth it for poachers.

There are currently five species of Asian and African rhinoceros left in the world. Three of the five are critically endangered: black, Javan, and Sumatran. Learn more about each rhino species below.


Ceratotherium simum

Africa's largest species of rhino, also known as the 'square-lipped' rhino. There are two subspecies of the white rhinoceros, the southern white rhino (C. simum simum) and the northern white rhino (C. simum cottoni), which is considered extinct in the wild.

IUCN Status: Near Threatened

Population: 16,803

Habitat: Grassland and savanna

Weight: 1,800kg to 2,700kg

Distribution: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda


About two thirds the size of the white rhino, the black rhino is also known as the 'hook lipped' rhino.

IUCN Status: Critically endangered

Population: 6,487

Habitat: Tropical grassland, Shrublands, deserts

Weight: 900kg to 1,400kg

Distribution: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya


Rhinoceros unicornis 

Asia's largest species of rhino, also known as the Indian rhino.

IUCN Status: Vulnerable

Population: 4,014

Habitat: Tropical grassland, shrublands, savanna

Weight: 1,800kg to 2,700kg

Distribution: India, Nepal


Dicerorhinus sumatrensis

Closest living relative to the woolly rhinos. Only species to still be covered in hair.

IUCN Status: Critically Endangered

Population: 34 to 47

Habitat: Tropical and subtropical forests

Weight: 550kg to 1,000kg

Distribution: Sumatra, Sabah


Rhinoceros sondaicus

All Javan rhinos in the world survive in Ujong Kulon National Park.

IUCN Status: Critically Endangered

Population: 76

Habitat: Tropical and subtropical forests

Weight: 900kg to 2,300kg

Distribution: Sumatra, Sabah

help protect rhinos in their natural habitat



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Essential food and medication for a rhino orphan



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Community programmes that improve livelihoods



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 Training of anti-poaching teams and tracking dogs


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