Save the Rhino International Inc

Rhino Species

This page contains information about all five species of rhino. Save the Rhino International Inc supports programs that help conserve each of these species.

Click here for more information about rhinos from our sister organisation, Save the Rhino International.

White Rhino

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The white rhino (Ceratotherium simum), also known as the square-lipped rhino, can be found throughout southern and East Africa. Once on the brink of extinction with only 50 individuals left in the wild, there are now over 20,000 white rhinos, although they are still under threat from poachers who kill the rhinos for their horns.

White rhinos are the larger of the two African species, and are grazers, with square lips that allow them to crop grass close to the ground. Like all rhino species, they have poor eyesight, but their hearing and sense of smell are acute. They can live up to 50 years, and are semi-social with females generally found in pairs.

Fun fact: The name 'white rhino' may have originated from a mistranslation of the Afrikaans word 'weit' meaning 'wide'. White rhinos and black rhinos are actually the same color.

Credit SRI

Black Rhino

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The black rhino (Diceros bicornis) is critically endangered, with only 4880 individuals left in the wild. They can be found across southern and East Africa, in national parks, wildlife reserves and sanctuaries. Black rhino numbers fell in the early 1990s to just 2400, and although they have begun to slowly recover, the recent escalation in poaching pressure is a constant threat.

Black rhinos are browsers, and their hooked upper lip is used for grabbing hold of small branches on bushes and shrubs, which they then bite off leaving a neat, angled edge. They can move extremely fast, up to 55km/hr, change direction surprisingly quickly, and can run straight through scrub and bushes.

Fun fact: Although black rhinos are generally solitary, recent footage has shown nighttime gatherings of these rhinos at waterholes in Namibia, where it appears they come to socialise and mate.

Credit Renauld Fulconis

Greater One-horned Rhino

The greater one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis), also known as the Indian rhino, is adapted for life alongside water. It can be found in floodplains and forests bordering rivers in India and Nepal. The species is classified as vulnerable, with a population of 2850. Like the white rhino, the greater one-horned rhino had been hunted almost to extinction, with the population falling as low as 200 individuals. The species' recovery has resulted from strict protection by the Nepalese and Indian wildlife authorities.

As their name suggests, these rhinos have a single horn that can grow to 60 cm long and weigh up to 3 kg. They spend much of their time wallowing in mud, an essential activity for temperature control and to get rid of skin parasites.

Fun fact: Greater one-horned rhinos are strong swimmers and can dive to feed underwater.

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Credit Horst Lubnow

Sumatran Rhino

The Sumatran or hairy rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is the smallest of the five rhino species. There are less than 200 left and they are critically endangered. They can be found in dense tropical forests on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia and Sabah in Malaysia. In June 2012 a Sumatran rhino calf was born in the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, the first Sumatran rhino to be born in captivity in Indonesia - a great success!

Sumatran rhinos are the only rhinos that are covered in hair. The hair is generally short and bristly in the wild, but can grow to a shaggy coat in captivity since it is not rubbed off on vegetation. Like the black rhino, they are browsers and feed on a wide variety of plants. Thier upper lip is prehensile to help them grasp leaves and branches, and they can eat up to 60kg of food a day.

Fun fact: The Sumatran rhino is the oldest living mammal, and is the closest living relative to the famous woolly rhinoceros that lived in the frigid lands of Europe and Asia during past ice ages.

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Credit SRI

Javan Rhino

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The most endagered of all the rhino species is the Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus), with only between 37 and 44 individuals left in the Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia. This is possibly the rarest mammal on earth, and was declared extinct in Vietnam in 2011.

Another name for the Javan rhino is the lesser one-horned rhino, and, although smaller than the greater one-horned, they share their affinity to water and spend a large part of each day wallowing in mud. They live mainly in forests where they are protected from the sun and have easy access to water, and they hunt out glades to find their favourite foods which prefer to grow in sunny areas.

Fun fact: There are no known salt licks in Ujung Kulon National Park as there are in parts of the Javan rhino's former range, so the rhinos occasionally drink sea water to get much needed salts.

Credit Alan Compost

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