The white rhino (Ceratotherium simum) are one of the largest land mammals following Elephants that are still present on the planet today. They were once found through North America and Europe as well as Asia and Africa and have existed for over 50 million years.
Now only five species of rhino exist, three of which are critically endangered. The White Rhino is the largest species of Rhino and South Africa is home to over 80% of the Rhino population.
White Rhino are not white but grey, and the name is thought to be a misinterpretation of the Afrikaans word “weit” meaning wide in reference to their square shaped mouth which helps them graze. The Black Rhino is slightly smaller than the White Rhino. It is a browser and has a pointed lip that is specially adapted for pulling leaves off branches.
Rhinos have poor eye sight but a keen sense of smell.
Rhinos are severely threatened due to poachers. Since 2008 there has been a dramatic increase in the incidences of poaching in South Africa. In 2012 the number of rhino killed have exceeded the 500 mark!
The Rhino is poached for its horn. White rhinos have two horns which is made from keratin. The horn is mostly sought after by Eastern countries such as Japan where it is believed to have medical uses. It is also said to be an aphrodisiac, but this is not true. Rhino horn is popular in Yemen where it is used as the handle for a traditional dagger called a “jambiya” which is a symbol of manhood. It is presented to a boy when he is 12 years old.
Despite increased anti-poaching patrols and initiatives Rhino poaching has increased in recent years and if South Africa continues to lose Rhino at the current rate, the rhino may be extinct as soon as 2025.
The demand for Rhino horn in Asia is massive with it fetching over $65,000 a kilo gram on the black market, making it pricier than diamonds, gold and even cocaine. The reason for this sudden increase is the mistaken belief by Asian traditional healers that Rhino horn is a cure for cancer.
Rhinos and Blue Lizard Adventures
We at Blue Lizard Adventures are extremely concerned about the poaching crisis we are facing. We are raising awareness via social media, talks and e-campaigns. In addition, a number of our volunteer projects involve rhino research, anti-poaching patrols and education of the local communities. By joining one of our programmes you will gain first hand experience in practical conservation and research and also help raise vital funds to help combat this problem.
Please help and join a programme today………………… http://www.bluelizardadventures.com/volunteer.html
Below are some of our photos taken over the years of the fabulous creature that is the white rhino.
|Sleepy work being a rhino|
|Red billed oxpeckers helping out the rhinos with their ticks|
|A crash of rhinos|