11 Astonishing Facts About The Last Living Rhinos
1. There are five species of rhinos across the world: The black rhino and white rhino live in Africa, while the Javan rhino, the Sumatran rhino, and the great one-horned rhino live in Asia. The Javan rhino is now almost extinct, with fewer than 50 animals surviving.
2. Strangely, both the black rhino and the white rhino are actually gray, and the main difference between them is their lips. Black rhinos have pointed upper lips so they can eat bushes and small branches. Browse is a word sometimes used to describe twigs and branches, so a black rhino is called a browser. White rhinos, meanwhile, have square lips because they prefer to eat grass, and that's why they're grazers.
3. In 1970, there were approximately 65,000 black rhinos in Africa. By 1993, that number had crashed to 2,300 living in the wild. Because of anti-poaching efforts, the number has climbed back to a little over 4,800 today.
4. Black rhinos can live to be 35 years old in the wild and over 45 years old in captivity.
5. Black rhinos can end up weighing over 3,000 pounds, and they gain all of that weight from eating just plants.
6. An animal that eats just plants is called an herbivore. An animal that eats meat is called a carnivore. An animal that eats both meat and plants is called an omnivore.
7. The black rhino has two horns: one on the front of its long nose and one just a little behind it. The one in the front is bigger and has been known to grow up to five feet long.
8. Those horns are the reason black rhinos are being killed in such large numbers. People in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Singapore believe the horns of a black rhino contain special powerful medicines. However, the scientific truth is that their horns have no medicinal value whatsoever, because they are made of keratin, which is the same stuff that human fingernails are made of.
9. Black rhinos are also being killed for people in Middle Eastern countries like Yemen or Saudi Arabia who value their horns as expensive ornaments. The market price for a rhino horn now makes it more valuable than gold.
10. It is illegal to hunt black rhinos, but because their horns are so valuable, some hunters take the risk. People who hunt illegally are called poachers.
11. A group of rhinos is actually called a crash.