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April 20, 2018  |  Login

White Rhinoceros
Ceratotherium simum

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What Are They Like?

White rhinoceros are one of the largest living terrestrial mammals in the world. They measure 11.2—13.1 feet (3.4-4) meters in length and males weigh approximately 5,070 pounds (2.3 tons), while females weigh only 3,750 pounds (1.7 tons). White rhinoceros are light grey to dark yellow in color with little hair on the tail and ears. They also have two horns, with the larger in the front, and can reach 59.1 inches (150 centimeters). The white rhinoceros can live up to 40 years in the wild.

Where Do They Live?

White rhinoceros live in the southern region of Africa. They can be found in Botswana, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Swaziland, Namibia, and Mozambique, and are native to the Congo and the Democratic Republic of South Africa. The white rhinoceros live in terrestrial environments of open grasslands and open woodlands in savannah habitats. They prefer flat lands and can occasionally be found in swampy regions.

Did You Know?
The white rhinoceros is the largest of the five rhinoceros species.

How Are Babies Made?

White rhinoceros reproduce annually between summer and fall. During breeding, the male usually spends time with the female for one to three weeks before the female leaves the male’s territory. The gestation period is approximately 515 days (about 16 months) . Calves are active almost immediately after birth, and stay with their mothers for up to threeyears before going off on their own. Females reach sexual maturity at six years , and males at 10-12 years.

What Do They Eat?

White rhinoceros are herbivores and grazers. They feed mainly on grasses that they crop with their front lip. White rhinoceros also drink water daily and wallow in it, but they can go four or five days without water.

Did You Know?
The “white” term describing the rhinoceros likely comes from a mistranslation of the Afrikaner word for “wide,” referring to the animal’s wide mouth.

What Do They Do?

White rhinoceros spend most of their lives in their home ranges. They can travel in groups of 14 individuals, but are more commonly found in smaller groups. However, dominant bulls are usually solitary and will fight an invading bull. They mark their territories by spreading dung and urine, dragging their feet and damaging plants with their horns. White rhinos are not aggressive towards other species, and they are also a diurnal species, meaning they are active in the daytime.

How Concerned Should We Be?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has a “Red List” of species in danger globally and listed the white rhinoceros as “near threatened.” Their wild population is currently increasing slowly, but still endures major threats that include habitat destruction, illegal poaching for the international rhino horn trade, and droughts due to global warming. Since white rhinos have a small home range, droughts can be devastating. In addition, political conflicts cause disruptions in conservation efforts.

What's Being Done?

White rhinoceros are listed on the CITES Appendix I, prohibiting international commercial trade in the species, except for South Africa and Swaziland which is listed on Appendix II. They are protected within zones where law enforcement can control on an effective level. In a number of countries, populations are now managed by both the state and the private sector, increasing their long-term security. Some conservation groups include IUCN SSC’s African Rhino Specialist Group, the SADC Rhino Management and Rhino Recovery Groups, the Rhino and Elephant Security Group, and the SADC Regional Program for Rhino Conservation Domestic anti-trade measures and legislation were also implemented in the 1990’s to help reduce illegal trade, and some game managers immobilize White Rhinos to remove their horns to deter poachers.


White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum) Behavior

White Rhinos Fighting in South Africa

White Rhino and Baby

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