Archive for the Africa: Rhinos Category

25 Things You Might Not Know About Rhinos

Posted in Africa: Rhinos, Asia: Rhinos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2010 by Bush Warriors

The fascinating rhino facts below are brought to you by International Rhino Foundation. Enjoy!

1. A group of rhinos is called a ‘crash’.

Crash of white rhinos.

2. White rhinos aren’t white (and black rhinos aren’t black). The white rhino’s name is taken from the Afrikaans word describing its mouth: ‘weit’, meaning ‘wide’. Early English settlers in South Africa misinterpreted the ‘weit’ for ‘white’.

3. Rhinos are fast! They can run up to 30–40 miles per hour, which may not sound like much, but if one is running straight towards you it feels like a NASCAR race car is coming your way.

Credit: Chris Wildblood

4. Rhino pregnancies last 15-16 months. Yikes!

5. A rhino’s skin is much softer than it looks, and is actually quite sensitive to sunburns and insect bites (that’s why rhinos like rolling in the mud so much – it helps to protect them from the sunburns and insects).

Credit: Pietie

6. Contrary to the common myth, there is no evidence that rhinos stamp out forest fires!

7. The white rhino is the largest rhino (and the largest land mammal after the elephant) – they can weigh up to 6,000 pounds. The Sumatran rhino is the smallest rhino, weighing in at a mere 1,300–2,000 pounds.

Sumatran rhinos.

8. Rhinos have poor eyesight, but very well-developed senses of smell and hearing (and they will charge at you when startled – the best way to escape is by climbing a tree, if one is handy!).

9. African rhinos have a symbiotic relationship with oxpeckers, also called ‘tick birds’. In Swahili, the oxpecker is called ‘askari wa kifaru’, which means ‘the rhino’s guard’. The oxpecker eats ticks and other insects it finds on the rhino, and creates a commotion when it senses danger.

Rhino with an oxpecker.

10. Most rhinos use piles of dung to leave ‘messages’ for other rhinos – nuances in the smell of dung can tell a rhino a lot about others in the area. Each rhino’s smell identifies its owner as unique – the smell is different for young vs adult animals, for males vs females, and females in estrus vs non-reproductive females. Combined with urine left along trails, dung piles create invisible ‘borders’ around a rhino’s territory.

11. Rhinos have existed on earth for more than 50 million years, and once roamed throughout North America and Europe (as well as Asia and Africa).

12. Throughout their history, rhinos have been a very diverse group. The extinct rhino Paraceratherium was the largest land mammal that ever lived, and resembled a big, muscular giraffe. Telecoeras was a single-horned, hippo-like grazer common in North America.

13. The book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W.W. Denslow, differs a lot from the movie classic, and actually has a reference to rhinos. Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion each get to meet the Wizard individually and he appears differently to each one of them. To Dorothy he appears as a huge head, to the Scarecrow as a beautiful woman, to the Lion as a great ball of fire, and to the Tin Man as a terrible beast. The beast is described as such, ‘It was nearly as big as an elephant, and the green throne seemed hardly strong enough to hold its weight. The Beast had a head like that of a rhinoceros, only there were five eyes in its face. There were five long arms growing out of its body and it also had five long, slim legs. Thick woolly hair covered every part of it, and a more dreadful-looking monster could not be imagined.’ Somehow, this never made it to the film version.

14. Three of the five surviving rhino species (black, Javan and Sumatran) are Critically Endangered, which means there is at least a 50% chance that these species will become extinct within three generations (for rhinos, this means about 30-60 years).

Java rhinos, credit: International Rhino Fund of New Zealand

15. The ancient woolly rhino, whose entire body was covered in a thick, shaggy coat, was hunted by early humans and is depicted in cave paintings dating back more than 30,000 years ago. The Sumatran rhino is the closest living relative of the extinct woolly rhino (and they’ve got the hair to prove it!).

16. The black rhino has a prehensile lip which allows it to feed on trees and shrubs (the other African species, the white rhino, has a long, flat lip for grazing on grasses).

 See the Black Rhino’s narrowed lip designed for browsing?

17. The Javan rhino is the rarest land mammal in the world. Less than 50 individuals survive in only two locations (Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam and Ujung Kulon National Park) in Indonesia.

18. Not all rhinos are solitary – both black and white rhinos commonly live in extended family groups (particularly females and calves).

19. Rhino horn is not used as an aphrodisiac in traditional Asian medicine. It is actually used to reduce pain and fever, although there is no scientific evidence to support this usage, and of course, it is illegal.

20. Sumatran, black and white rhinos all have two horns, Javan and greater one-horned rhinos have one horn (and some female Javan rhinos don’t appear to have a horn at all).

21. The most famous piece of rhino artwork is Albrecht Durer’s woodcut, ‘The Rhinoceros’, printed in 1515. It (not entirely accurately) depicts a greater one-horned rhino sent as a gift from the King of Portugal to Pope Leo X, and has been reprinted countless times over the past 500 years.

22. The word rhinoceros comes from the Greek rhino (nose) and ceros (horn).

23. Depending on the species, rhinos can live to between 35 and 50 years old.

24. Rhino horns are made of keratin, the same material that makes up your hair and fingernails.

25. The closest living rhino ‘relatives’ are tapirs, horses and zebras.

Visit to learn more about rhinos and rhino conservation.

One-Horned Rhinos, only 435 left!

Poll: Should Rhino Horns Be Poisoned?

Posted in Africa: Rhinos, Asia: Rhinos, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2010 by Dori G

On Monday we brought you a story that made headlines and stirred up a lot of emotions. In case you missed it, see:  “Unpleasant Surprise for Rhino Horn Consumers: Poisoned Rhino Horns“.

We want to do a survey and find out what the world is thinking.  So we ask you:  Should rhino horns be poisoned?


This is the result of poaching rhinos for their horns……


…as opposed to a naturally happy, ALIVE rhinos like this one…


Please feel free to share this with everyone you can, and post it in all your social media hubs. We will publish the results of this survey on Friday, August 6th.  You can also use this short link to direct people to this poll:


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Posted in Africa: Rhinos, Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2010 by Dori G

Devastated by the poaching frenzy of the 1980’s, black rhino populations are dangerously close to extinction. This period of heavy poaching killed off 98% of the black rhino population and saw the massacre of some 90,000 elephants in Tanzania’s 50,000 km² Selous Game Reserve, the second largest area of the world set aside for wildlife (second only to Antarctica). Today, just barely over 100 of these rhinos are left in this World Heritage Site. Their prized horns are highly valuable in the black market and are used in the Middle East and Asia for medicinal and ornamental uses.Only man is to blame for this atrocity, and it is only man who can reverse the situation. When trying to establish a safari lodge within the Selous Reserve, Lizzy Theobald recognized the immediate need for conservation action to save this rhino species and founded the Kidai Rhino Project in 1995.

Tragically, her vision was cut short two years later when malaria claimed her young life. Her legacy lives on through the Selous Rhino Trust formed in 2000, having one key goal: “to stop the black rhino from becoming extinct in the Selous Game Reserve”. The Trust works with the Tanzanian Wildlife Division to form the Selous Black Rhino Protection Project, a team of twelve rangers and rhino specialists committed to protecting the rhinos (and other wildlife) from poachers. The remote nature of the Reserve and its rough terrain gives poachers many places to hide and makes locating their activities challenging. To overcome this obstacle, the Project uses aerial surveillance and monitoring to identify poaching threats. When found, location information is radioed down to a team on the ground who moves in to apprehend the poachers. The use of aircraft allows for vast tracts of land to be covered in a timely fashion, while also serving as a deterring reminder of the team’s presence.

(Credit: Piet Payer)

There have been no signs of rhino poaching in the last four years at the Reserve, but signs of elephant and hippo poaching are increasing despite the committed efforts of this brave team. Aerial monitoring also aids in the Trust’s surveying activities by identifying prime rhino habitat and quantifying the number of rhinos within the Reserve. Areas identified by air are then surveyed and studied extensively by a team on foot. The Trust also conducts monitoring activities to identify population numbers and to track movements of individual rhinos across the Reserve. On the ground, rangers rarely see the rhinos, but seeing them is not necessary to estimate the size of their population. They use two non-invasive techniques to achieve this task. Dung is collected for DNA analysis, which identifies individuals, their sex, and allows for genetic linkages to be made between individuals. However, DNA analysis is an expensive and lengthy process. Another way to identify individuals on the spot with minimal costs is by tracing rhino footprints.

(Credit: Brandon Daniel)

Each rhino has a distinct footprint, and, when found, the team traces the print onto a transparency sheet and compares it to all previously-catalogued footprints. This allows the team to determine if the rhino is a new individual or is one they already know about. Many of Selous Rhino Trust’s methods and techniques have not been used before in Tanzania, but it is because of the rangers’ developed skills and knowledge of these techniques that their efforts have been so successful. Ranger training takes place at the ranger post, and the Trust often works with other rhino organizations and programs to share ideas and skills. If it weren’t for the Selous Rhino Trust, the Reserve’s black rhino population would undoubtedly be gone. The actions of these brave rangers and their dedication to preserving this majestic species gives hope to keeping the unique and rich Selous Game Reserve wholly intact.

(Credit: Fernando Quevedo)

To learn more, please visit their website

Organization of The Day: WildlifeNOW

Posted in Africa: Elephants, Africa: Lions, Africa: Primates, Africa: Rhinos, Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2010 by kendickjerkins


George Adamson was a legendary figure in the world of wildlife. He devoted his life to his many lions that he was able to reintroduce into the wild, becoming the infamous ‘lion man.’ In 1989, George Adamson’s life ended devastatingly, murdered by a group of Somali Bandits. Fortunately, his legacy lives on through Tony Fitzjohn, who spent nearly 18 years with Adamson learning all the tricks of the trade from building roads to organizing anti-poaching units. Together this dynamic duo created Kora National Park, encompassing 1200 square miles of land that lays adjacent to Tsavo National Park (Kenya’s largest National Park), creating a massive amount of landscape dedicated to protection and preservation.

These two extraordinary men also fought many battles against bandits and poachers, created airstrips, cut more than 300 miles of bush roads and reintroduced more than 30 lions and 10 leopards back into the wild. Today, Fitzjohn carries on the spirit of Adamson as his protégé. Recently, WildlifeNOW focuses its efforts on the highly endangered rhinos, African Wild Dogs, and elephants. Their accomplishments consist of establishing the first successful rhino sanctuary in Tanzania which is now a highly patrolled, 30 square mile sanctuary. Their veterinary program has made groundbreaking progress in the research of diseases, hoping to one day contribute to immunizations of the African Wild Dogs. After a devastating decrease in population of elephants, WildlifeNOW has around 1,000 elephants roaming the reserve in the wet season.

Additionally, for the past three decades WildlifeNOW has been successful in reintroducing zoo animals back into the wild. Tanzania, being one of the poorest countries, has hunted wildlife for the survival of themselves and their families. To help local communities WildlifeNOW has created an outreach program so that the surrounding villages benefit from the reserve. Their outreach program has provided medical assistance, funded the building of a secondary school, improved water supplies and much more. Their goal is not only to sustain wildlife, but to reverse the damage that has been done. Tony Fitzjohn has spent a lot of time traveling the world, educating the public on issues of wildlife preservation. However, he is now moving back to Kora, where he and Adamson started their magnificent journey, to bring the area back to life and re-introduce more lions into the wild.

To learn more, please visit their website

Organization of The Day: Lewa Conservancy

Posted in Africa: Elephants, Africa: Lions, Africa: Primates, Africa: Rhinos, Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2010 by kendickjerkins


Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

During the 1970s population of black rhinos had dropped from 20,000 to fewer than 300, putting these animals in danger of becoming extinct. Since then, thanks to the Lewa Conservancy, over 40,000 acres has been dedicated to over 70 different animals. Since the 1970s Lewa has been able to double the population of rhinos! Lewa also lends a helping hand to the surrounding communities.

Their annual safaricom marathon has helped raise over 2,000,000, they have been able to build over 10 schools, establish forestry programs, support hospitals, provide free treatment to those injured by wildlife, as well as put projects in place such as tracker dog units to help the conservancy. They have even started a womens micro-credit program. The surrounding communities are impoverished and this program gives these women a chance to become more independent. They are given the chance to train and become entrepreneurs, hoping to reduce poverty and facilitate gender equity. Lewa’s efforts not only help out the animals in need, but the people as well.

To Learn More, please visit their site

Rhino Murdered During World Cup: Poachers Disguised As Rangers Caught Red Handed

Posted in Africa: Rhinos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Rangers in Kruger National Park managed to shoot and wound one rhino poacher in an exchange of gunfire that occurred after a dead rhino was found early Monday morning. The rhino had been shot and its horns were still intact.

Although two poachers managed to escape, the other is hospitalized and will appear in the Saselamani Periodical Court following recovery. Park spokesperson William Mambasa said via The Independent that the group of three poachers were wearing ranger uniforms as a disguise. The shooting occurred between Punda Maria and Shingwedzi Camp.

Photos of poached Rhino found in Kruger (Separate Incident)

To read the full article, click here

Organization of The Day: The Mara Conservancy

Posted in Africa: Elephants, Africa: Lions, Africa: Primates, Africa: Rhinos, Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Mara Conservancy

Management of the Mara Triangle was falling apart, until 2001, when Mara Conservancy stepped in and took control over the triangle. Their programs include anti-poaching and de-snaring patrols, as well as a mobile veterinary unit that is always on the move. These units help animals that have been snared by cutting wires and treating open wounds, giving the animals a chance to survive.

The help of the conservancy extends to surrounding communities creating a ripple effect that in turn helps protect wildlife. They have started a project that brings bio-gas to surrounding homes. Bio gas reduces smoke within homes, preventing women from having to search for wood. Because of this, the depletion of surrounding forests is reduced as well as human-wildlife conflict, an obstacle that faces many conservationists.

Additionally, they’ve brought toilets to 5 villages and plan to construct more. Female genital mutilation is a huge problem in surrounding communities and Mara has educated them in hopes to stop the mutilation. They’ve also reduced revenge killing of predators by giving livestock guardians and replacing the livestock when possible. With the reduction of revenge killing, better patrol of the area, veterinarians in place and their efforts in reaching out to the community Mara Conservancy has taken huge strides in the protection of wildlife.

To Learn More about the Conservancy & the Mara Triangle, click here.