Jarod Wood 4th Period 3/4/15


Rhinos once roamed many places throughout Eurasia and Africa and were known to early Europeans who depicted them in cave paintings. Long ago they were widespread across Africa's savannas and Asia's tropical forests. But today very few rhinos survive outside national parks and reserves. Two species of rhino in Asia– Javan and Sumatran – are Critically Endangered. A subspecies of the Javan rhino was declared extinct in Vietnam in 2011. A small population of the Javan rhino still clings for survival on the Indonesian island of Java.

Black rhinos have doubled in number over the past two decades from their low point of 2,480 individuals, but total numbers are still a fraction of the estimated 100,000 that existed in the early part of the 20th century.

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Namibia, Coastal East Africa, Boreno and Sumatra, Eastern Himalayas


The Javan and Sumatran rhinos are endangered. The Black rhino is critically endangered.

Current Population

The Black Rhino- 5,055

The Javan Rhino- less than 35

The Sumatran Rhino- less than 200

What do they eat?

Mainly they eat leaves and branches of bushes, shrubs. Sometimes they also eat grass.

Why are they endangered?

Rhino poaching has escalated in recent years and is being driven by the demand for rhino horn in Asian countries, particularly Vietnam. It is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine but more and more commonly now it is used as a status symbol to display someone’s success and wealth. As South African is home to the majority of rhinos in the world it is being heavily targeted by poachers, see poaching numbers in South Africa. However poaching is now a threat in all rhino range states and field programmers are having to investment heavily in anti-poaching activities.

The scarcity of rhinos today and the corresponding intermittent availability of rhino horn only drives the price higher, and intensifies the pressure on the declining rhino populations. For people whose annual income is often far below the subsistence level, the opportunity to change one’s life by killing an animal that they don’t value is overwhelming.

Poachers are now being supplied by international criminal gangs with sophisticated equipment to track and kill rhinos. Often they use a tranquilizer gun to bring the rhino down and hack of its horn leaving the rhino to wake up and bleed to death very painfully and slowly. Poachers are also often armed with guns making them very dangerous for the anti-poaching teams who put their lives on the line to protect rhinos.

Why do they matter? Why do we care if they go extinct?

1: Rhinos have been an important part of a wide range of ecosystems for millions of years; we must not let them join the dodo in extinction.

2: When protecting and managing a rhino population, rangers and scientists take in account all the other species interacting with rhinos and those sharing the same habitat. When rhinos are protected, many other species are too; not only mammals but also birds, reptiles, fish and insects as well as plants.

3:Rhinos are the second-biggest living land mammals after the elephants. Together with lion, giraffe, chimpanzee and polar bear, the rhino is one of the most popular species with zoo visitors. In the wild, rhinos attract tourists who bring money to national parks and local communities. They are one of the “Big Five”, along with lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo.

4: At the turn of the 19th century, there were approximately one million rhinos. In 1970, there were around 70,000. Today, there are only around 28,000 rhinos surviving in the wild.

What organization is working to protect them or reintroduce them to the wild? How are they accomplishing that?

Save The Rhino foundation is one of the best organizations helping to rebuild the Rhino population. The Southern white rhino would not exist today if it were not for the work of a few determined people, who brought together the 200 or so individuals surviving, for a managed breeding and re-introduction program. Today, there are some 20,405 (as at 31 Dec. 2012) Southern white rhinos.

Save the Rhino International works to conserve viable populations of critically endangered rhinos in Africa and Asia. They recognize that the future of wildlife is inextricably linked to the communities that share its habitat. By funding field projects and through education, our goal is to deliver material, long-lasting and widespread benefits to rhinos and other endangered species, ecosystems and to the people living in these areas.

What can the general public do to help protect them?

There are many ways to help out in the process to help rebuild the rhino population. Such as, you can donate to organizations, help a ranger save a rhino, or even start a fundraiser. You can also volunteer to help watch out for poachers.