The white rhinoceros is found in open woodlands and grasslands in parts of South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Namibia. White rhinos feed mainly on grasses by grazing. They have an average lifespan of 45 to 50 years in the wild.
1. Scientific & Common Names
4. Present Status
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Mammalia
Order - Perissodactyla
Family - Rhinocerotidae
Genus - Ceratotherium
Species - C. simum
Common Name - White Rhinoceros, Northern White Rhinoceros, Square-lipped Rhinoceros
White rhinos have light gray skin, squared and flexible lips, and two horns. The front horn grows longer than the other and can reach lengths of 5 feet. Adult white rhinos weigh between 3,168 and 7,920 pounds and measure between 11 and 13.75 feet long.
White rhinos do not have a specific breeding season, although peak breeding times tend to be in summer and fall. Females gestate for around 16 months and then give birth to one offspring. The young calf stays with its mother until it is two or three years old. Females reach reproductive maturity when they are around 6 years old, while males reach reproductive maturity when they are around 10 years old.
White rhinos live in groups of up to 14, although dominant males usually live on their own. Males typically butt horns or perform false charges when confronting each other, although actual fighting is rare. White rhinos stay in the shade during the hottest part of the day or wallow in mud to protect their skin from the sun. They are known for being much less aggressive toward other species than other rhinos are, which has made them easier targets for poaching.
White rhinos were found throughout large areas of sub-Saharan African in the past, including southern Chad, southwestern Sudan, Botswana and southeastern Angola, but their present range is much smaller.
White rhinos are currently listed as near threatened, although the northern white rhino subspecies is listed as critically endangered. Most of the remaining white rhinos belong to the southern white rhino subspecies in South Africa, which is also declining. The main threat is poaching to support the horn trade. Conservation efforts include improved field protection and legislation prohibiting poaching and commercial trade in white rhino horns.