There are five distinct species of rhinos. They are –
- Black rhino
- White rhino
- Indian rhino (also known as the greater one-horned rhino)
- Sumatran rhino
- Javan rhino
Rhino is short for ‘Rhinoceros’.
The natural habitat of the black rhino and white rhino is Africa.
The greater one-horned rhino, Sumatran rhino and Javan rhino are found in Asia.
All species of rhino are considered as being endangered with the Sumatran rhino, Javan rhino and black rhino critically endangered as a species.
The total number of black rhinos was 65,000 in 1970. This fell to just 3,600 in 2004.
Black rhinos are found in Kenya, Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Tanzania.
White rhinos numbered less than 50 at the turn of the century. This has risen to 11,000 in 2004.
White rhinos are found in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
As of 2002, there were approximately 2,090 greater one-horned rhinos living mainly in Assam, Nepal and North-west Bengal.
There are reportedly between 50 – 70 Javan rhinos left in their natural habitat as of 2002, which is in western Java and southern Vietnam.
Estimates in 2002 state that there are 300 Sumatran rhinos remaining in their natural habitat in Sumatra, Malaysia, Borneo, Burma and Thailand.
Rhinos are herbivores.
Both the black rhino and white rhino as well as the Sumatran rhinos have two horns, while the Indian and Javan Rhinoceros have a single horn.
The poaching of rhinos for their horn is a major factor contributing to the diminishment of rhinos on the Earth.
The horn has found to be used for decorative pieces or powdered to be used for medicinal purposes.
Rhinoceros horns are made from keratin, which is the same protein, that hair and fingernails are made from. The horns are not made from hair as was previously thought.
Rhinoceroses have an excellent sense of smell and hearing, but their eyesight is poor.
Rhinos can live to in excess of 60 years old.