Celebrated every 22 September, World Rhino Day is a time where we shine the spotlight onto this highly endangered species and increase the efforts in educating the members of our society to join in efforts to combat the effects of illegal poaching that is unfortunately still going on today. Here are 5 facts that you can share with your family and friends today!
Fun Facts for World Rhino Day!
1. A group of rhinos is known as a “crash”
Despite having a fitting collective noun for such a bulky creature, one would be fortunate to be able to see a crash of rhinos since there are fewer than 30,000 rhinos in the wild. Rhinoceroses are also generally solitary animals that prefer to live an independent life. The White Rhino species, however, tend to be a little more social.
2. There are only five species of rhinos left
There are five species of rhinoceros living today, two from Africa and three from Asia. The white and black rhino are found in Africa, while the Indian, Javan, and Sumatran rhinos are found in Southern Asia. The Black, Javan and Sumatran rhino are marked as critically endangered while the Indian rhino is marked as a vulnerable species. Of the 5, the White rhino is, unfortunately, the species to be marked as near-threatened. The world’s last surviving male northern white rhino passed away in 2018 and his only two remaining offspring are kept under 24 guard at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.
3. Rhino’s horns have no medicinal value
The rhino’s horn is the main part of the animal that is highly sought after by illegal poachers for its perceived medicinal value. The most common illnesses believed to be cured by rhino horn include Gout, Fever and even cancer while older myths claim that it is also effective in the treatment of hallucinations and snake bites. However, since a rhino’s horn is made of the same substance that makes up our nails and hair, chewing on our fingernails and hair should be every bit as effective in curing the above illnesses. (We all know it doesn’t.)
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Illegal poaching and trade for its horn is the main reason for the rhino’s rapidly declining population along with factors such as habitat loss.
4. Rhinos have very poor eyesight
Rhinos have fantastic hearing and a great sense of smell but have terrible eyesight. They will struggle to spot something further than 30m away which is why their instinct when faced with a perceived threat is to charge toward it. Despite their huge size and weight, rhinos can run or charge up to 55 km/h! Rhinos are the fastest of all the land mammals that weigh over 1000 kilograms including the elephants and hippos.
5. One of the rhino’s best friend is a bird
In the wild, you might spot some feathered friends hitching a ride on a rhino. The Oxpeckers have a symbiotic (give and take) relationship with rhinos. Rhinos have a host of ectoparasites on their hide that the birds eat as a source of nutrition while keeping the rhino free of parasites. The oxpeckers can also raise the alarm, warning the rhino if any danger is about although the rhino has no natural predators and are only intentionally hunted by humans.
What other fun rhino facts do you know? Be sure to share them with us and the people around you! You can find out more fascinating facts about rhinos at resources such as the WWF website and our Singapore Zoo’s website.