There are five species of rhino that still survive in the world today. Two of the species come from Africa and three from Asia but all of them have one thing in common – their very existence in our world is under threat, thanks mainly to a massive increase in poaching.
These pages are designed to share some basic information and some interesting facts about each of the species. Click on the links below for more information on each of the rhino species.
Facts common to all species of rhino:
- Rhino horn is made of keratin, the same substance that makes up human hair and fingernails
- The collective term for a group of rhinos is a ‘crash’ of rhinos
- All rhinos are herbivores (meaning they do not eat meat)
- All species of rhino can weigh over a tonne
- All 5 species of rhino have an excellent sense of hearing and smell but very poor sight
The White rhino is one of the two rhino species found in Africa. Despite its name the White rhino is not actually white at all, its skin is grey in colour. There are many different theories as to where the term ‘white’ came from, but the most common one is that it is derived from the Afrikaans word for ‘wide’, describing the white rhinos wide mouth and upper lip. The white rhino is also known as the square lipped rhino.
The Black rhino is one of the two rhino species found in Africa. In the same way that the White rhino is not white, the Black rhino is not actually black. Its skin is more of a grey colour. There are a number of theories as to why the Black rhino is called ‘black’ but two of the most common are that the upper lip has a type of beak formation and this has been translated to ‘black’ and perhaps the more common theory is that is that the English called it black as it was opposite to white! The black rhino is also known as the hook lipped rhino.
GREATER ONE HORNED RHINO
Also known as the Indian rhino, the Greater One Horned rhino is one of the three rhino species found in Asia. Like their African cousin, the white rhino, the Greater One Horned rhino has enjoyed a boost to their population in recent years. It is estimated that as few as 200 individuals existed in the wild in the early 1900’s. Thanks to a concerted conservation effort their current population is thought to be around 3,333.
The Sumatran rhino is one of the three rhino species found in Asia. Their population is said to have declined by about 50% since the late 1990’s. Their decline, like all other species of rhino, is due to poaching for their horn but the Sumatran rhino is also suffering due to loss of habitat. Their natural habitat is being destroyed and developed for palm oil plantations.
The Javan rhino is one of the three rhino species found in Asia. They are the most endangered of all the five species of rhino with only as few 50 thought to still survive in the wild today. Extinction for the Javan rhino is a very real possibility.