Adult Rhinos foraging in grassland with scattered thicket
- Diet; herbivorous; feeding mostly on grasses.
- Total estimated global population; slightly below 30,000.
- Second largest terrestrial mammal after the elephant.
- White and black rhino are native to Africa.
- Sumatran and Indian rhino are native to Asia.
- White rhino is endangered, and in East Africa, it’s common in Kenya in the plains of the Eastern arm of the Great East African rift valley.
- Have a powerful horn located just above the nose for defence. Some have 2 horns for example the black rhino.
- Local names; Enkura Ruheembe (Runyankole – Rukiga), Kifaru (Kiswahili).
- 4 genera identifiable; Ceratotherium (White rhino), Dicerorhinus (Sumatran rhino), Rhinoceros (Indian rhino) and Diceros (Black rhino).
- A colossal mammal. White rhinos are the largest; adults can weigh up to 3,500Kg. Sumatran rhinos are the smallest; adults can weigh up to 600Kg.
- Gestation period; White rhino: 16-18months, others; 15-16months.
- Habitat: Mostly grasslands and savanna with scattered shrubs and thicket in sub-Saharan Africa. Tropical moist forests, arid and semiarid areas in south-east Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
- Geographical distribution: Eastern and Southern Africa; South-east Asia, Indian sub-continent.
- Threat; Poaching for the horn. Useful as traditional medicine especially in Asia and for industrial purposes as a raw material.
Conserve, preserve and protect the environment to protect the rhino. It’s an endangered species that should be preserved. Interference with vegetation cover means a direct attack on the habitat and diet of rhinos.
Strict legislation should be put in place and effected to curb poaching. Let’s work together to protect this great animal that brings foreign exchange and also is very vital in nutrient recycling as part of the terrestrial ecosystem.