Endangered Rhinos - Species, Facts and Photos

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Rhinos are a fascinating group of animals. To tell the truth, its name is already peculiar, rhinoceros means 'horned nose' and refers to the large horn that it presents on its snout which, extraordinarily, is not a bone horn but is formed of keratin like hair and nails. Despite being a great animal, all rhinoceros species are exposed to some type of threat and most of them are in danger of extinction according to the IUCN or International Union for Conservation of Nature.

As a result of the aforementioned, in this Green Ecologist article we will talk about the endangered rhinos. If you want to know what are the main threats that put them in danger, how many rhinos are left and more, do not stop reading this interesting article.

Why Rhinos Are Endangered

Although the existence of the rhino family dates back millions of years, and even long before the presence of humans, their existence today is in severe danger. In fact, the rhino family, scientifically known as Rhinocerotidae, consisted of a considerable number of species, which today is reduced to only Five species of rhinoceros in danger of extinction. Next, we will tell you the reasons why rhinos are in danger of extinction.

  • Poaching for further illegal trafficking. In some types of alternative medicine, the belief that the horn that rhinos possess is capable of curing diseases is strongly rooted, it is worth clarifying that this is not scientifically proven. In addition, its horn is highly sought after for use as an ornament. For both reasons, rhinoceros hunting is very common, despite the fact that the trade in its horn has been prohibited since 1977. Here you can read about the Causes and consequences of animal poaching and How to avoid animal poaching .
  • Destruction of their habitat. Deforestation, the advance of the agricultural frontier, and urban development contribute to the loss and fragmentation of rhino habitat. In this way, the populations are isolated from each other, since there are no corridors that allow them to move. This increases the vulnerability of rhinos since they are exposed to poachers, possible run over by the young and also hinders their reproduction. To have more information about this problem you can read this other article on Destruction of the environment and habitat: causes and consequences.
  • Diseases. Diseases also put rhinos at risk. Specifically, those diseases transmitted by domestic livestock that live close to rhinoceros populations, such as the java rhinoceros, which we will discuss in the next section.
  • Climate change. Although rhinos are highly resilient and easily adapt to new environments, the consequences of climate change are somewhat uncertain and the small portions of rhino habitat that remain will undoubtedly be modified.

Now that you know what the main threats to rhinos are, in the next sections we will develop the five species of rhinoceros that exist today and we will mention their conservation status.

Java rhino

The current distribution of the Javanese rhino (Rhinoceros probeicus) is very limited, it is reduced to Ujung Kulon National Park that is in the island of Java that belongs to Indonesia. The good news is that the Java rhino population is controlled and safe from poachers. However, its conservation status is delicate: according to the IUCN this species is in critical danger of extinction and, based on their reports, there are only 18 adult specimens left.

We will tell you more in this other article about Why the Java Rhino is in danger of extinction.

Indian rhinoceros

The Indian rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis), the larger of all rhinos, it was widely distributed in northern India and Pakistan. Currently its distribution is limited to a few geographical points in India. Its conservation status is, according to the IUCN, vulnerable to extinction and it is estimated that between 2,100 and 2,200 adult specimens remain. This is a positive fact, if we consider that its population has increased, although it continues to be in a vulnerable situation, since in 1970 there were only 600 specimens left.

Sumatran rhino

The Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), had a distribution that encompassed much more than the island of Sumatra, it included the slopes of the Himalayas that extend through Bhutan, Nepal, China, India and Pakistan. Today, this species is found only in the forest remnants of the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. The IUCN has classified it as in critical danger of extinction since there are only 30 mature specimens left. Curiously, it is that of smaller size of rhinos and the only one that has two horns.

White rhino

The case of the white rhino (Ceratotherium simum) is really hopeful: at the beginning of the 20th century it was considered critically endangered, since there were only less than 100 specimens left. Currently, the IUCN classifies it as almost threatened Because there are more than 10,000 specimens living in the wild distributed in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

This happened thanks to successful conservation plans that were sustained for many years, which denotes that conservation programs work, they are not in vain. However, it is impossible to ignore that there are only 3 copies of the northern white rhino subspecies (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), which is in critical danger of extinction.

Black rhino

While the black rhino (Diceros bicornis) is classified by the IUCN as in critical danger of extinction, their populations are slowly growing thanks to successful conservation plans. To date, it is estimated that there are more than 3,000 adult specimens that have been distributed between Namibia, South Africa and Kenya.

This particular species has several subspecies, many of which are currently considered extinct. So if you were wondering what species of rhinos became extinct, we can say that they were several subspecies of the black rhinoceros.

Now that you have known the rhinoceros species that are in danger of extinction, their current situation and also that there are several subspecies that have already become extinct, you may be interested in reading this other article about Why it is important to protect endangered animals from extinction.

If you want to read more articles similar to Rhinos in danger of extinctionWe recommend that you enter our category of Endangered Animals.

  • Species and habitat: rhinos. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Recovered from: https://www.wwf.es/nuestro_trabajo/especies_y_habitats/rinoceronte/
  • Ceratotherium simum. IUCN Red Lists. Website: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/4185/45813880
  • Tell you bicornis. IUCN Red Lists. Website: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/6557/152728945
  • Dicerorhinus sumatrensis. IUCN Red Lists. Website: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/6553/18493355
  • Rhinoceros unicornis. IUCN Red Lists. Website: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/19496/18494149
  • Rhinoceros probeicus. IUCN Red Lists. Website: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/19495/18493900
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