Southern White Rhinoceros

Scientific Name: Ceratotherium simum
Irish Name: Srónbheannach bán deisceartach
IUCN Status: Near threatened

The southern white rhinoceros is the largest of the rhino species and the third largest land mammal species in the world after African and Asian elephants. Southern white rhinos can weigh up to 2.3 tonnes and have a wide flat mouth, thick grey skin and two horns- one large horn to the front and a smaller horn further up their head. Their horns are made of keratin, the same material as skin, nails and hair. Rhinos are hunted for their horns which are incredible valuable on the black market.

Southern White Rhinoceros

The southern white rhinoceros is the largest of the rhino species and the third largest land mammal species in the world after African and Asian elephants. Southern white rhinos can weigh up to 2.3 tonnes and have a wide flat mouth, thick grey skin and two horns- one large horn to the front and a smaller horn further up their head. Their horns are made of keratin, the same material as skin, nails and hair. Rhinos are hunted for their horns which are incredible valuable on the black market.

General Information

What is rhino's natural habitat?

Southern white rhinos live in the wild in Eastern and Southern Africa. They live on grassy savannahs, shrub lands and woodlands.

How long do they live?

Southern white rhinos are known to live from about 46-50 years in the wild and around 30 years in zoos.

What do they eat?

Rhinos are grazers and feed almost exclusively on short grasses. Rhinos eat 55kg (120 lbs) of grass per day. They can do without water for 5 days if there is a drought.

Animal Class

Mammalia

Animal Order

Perissodactyla

Zoo Location

African Plains

Group Name

Crash

Closest Related Species/Sister Species

The closest relative to the rhino family (Rhinocerotidae) is the tapir family (Tapiridae)

Fun Facts

Not-so-white rhino

There is actually no colour difference between the black and white rhinos species. The 'white' component of the name may have resulted from a mistranslation of the Afrikaans word “wyd” meaning “wide'

Highly endangered species

There are only two remaining individuals of other subspecies of white rhino, the northern white rhino. This is in comparison with the estimated 17,000 individuals of the southern white rhino species. The two remaining northern white rhinos are called Fatu and Najin and both are female and living in a conservancy in Kenya. The last male rhino, Sudan, died in 2018.

Scientists are attempting to use frozen sperm from deceased males to impregnate the two females to try and save the species.

Long horn

Southern white rhinoceros' front horns are on average about 60 cm long but have been known to grow up to lengths of 1.5 metres. Their horns are composed of keratin and are used as weapons against predators, to display dominance when threatened by other rhinos.

Hide

Family Life

Rhinos live in small groups called crashes of about 6 individuals but can be know to gather temporarily in groups up to about 14 individuals. The crash includes females and calves and usually one dominant male. Males tend to live solitary lives.

Baby Name

Calf

Gestation period/length of pregnancy

16 months

Number of young at birth

One calf.

Weight at birth

40-60 kg

Age at maturity

3-5 years for females and 5-7 for males.

Adult size

1.85m in length and weigh, 1,800 -2,500 kgs

Hide

Conservation

Near Threatened

The southern white rhino has been classified as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation in Nature.

Current population estimate

Around 18,000 individuals

Threats

Poaching is the biggest threat to southern white rhinos.

All rhino species are hunted for their horns- in fact, poaching is the main cause of death for rhinos. Tragically their horns are mostly just used as trophies for the hunters as a status of wealth. They have also been used in Chinese medicine for the last 2,000 years to treat fever, gout and many other illnesses however there is no medical backing to this theory.

Like a lot of other species, they are also victims of habitat loss and political conflict in their native Africa.

What is Dublin Zoo doing?

Dublin Zoo supports the Lowveld Rhino Trust in Zimbabwe, which is involved with treating wounded and orphaned rhinos, catching poachers, monitoring rhino populations and community outreach programmes

We are also part of the European breeding programme for this species.

Hide

Rhino calf runs on the African Savanna for the first time

Watch The Zoo Tonight on RTE One at 7:30pm

Tune into The Zoo on RTÉ One tonight at 7:30pm, where zookeepers Ken and John say goodbye to Jubari the rhino, who they have cared for since he was a young calf, as he is now old enough to start a herd of his own…

Gepostet von Dublin Zoo am Montag, 17. September 2018

Rhino Conservation

See what Dublin Zoo is doing to help rhinos in the wild
Find out more

Frequently asked questions

  • What do rhinoceros eat?

    Rhinos eat grasses, shrubs and hay

  • What is a rhinoceros horn made of?

    Their horns are made up of a material called of keratin, the same material as skin, nails and hair.

  • What is the plural of rhinoceros?

    Rhinoceros, rhinoceri, rhinoceroses are all valid plural terms for the rhinoceros.

  • What is a group of rhinoceros called?

    A group of rhinoceros is called a crash.

  • What sound does a rhinoceros make?

    Rhinos can make different sounds that include grunting, growling, mooing, panting, squealing, screaming and trumpeting.

  • How fast can a rhinoceros run?

    Rhino can run up to 40 km per hour in short bursts.

  • Where do rhinoceros live?

    Rhinos live in eastern and southern Africa.

  • What factors have made rhinoceros vulnerable?

    Poaching is the biggest threat to southern white rhinos.

    All rhino species are hunted for their horns- in fact, poaching is the main cause of death for rhinos. Tragically their horns are mostly just used as trophies for the hunters as a status of wealth. They have also been used in Chinese medicine for the last 2,000 years to treat fever, gout and many other illnesses however there is no medical backing to this theory.

    Like a lot of other species, they are also victims of habitat loss and political conflict in their native Africa.

  • What is being done to protect rhinoceros?

    There are a number of conservation charities working very hard to help protect rhinos from poaching through monitoring, educating local communities on the value of keeping rhinos alive and trying to reduce the illegal trade of rhino horns. Dublin Zoo works with the Lowveld Rhino Trust in partnership with Save the Rhino to try and save the species through collaborative action.

  • How many toes does a rhinoceros have?

    Rhinos have 3 toes on each foot.

  • Is a rhinoceros a carnivore herbivore or omnivore?

    Rhinos are herbivores. They eat 55kg of grass a day.

  • Is rhinoceros endangered?

    There are five species of rhino, some of which are critically endangered including javan, black and sumatran rhino. The white rhino is near threatened and the Indian rhino is classified as vulnerable.

  • Why are rhinoceros poached for their horns?

    All rhino species are hunted for their horns- in fact, poaching is the main cause of death for rhinos. Tragically their horns are mostly just used as trophies for the hunters as a status of wealth. They have also been used in Chinese medicine for the last 2,000 years to treat fever, gout and many other illnesses however there is no medical backing to this theory.

  • Do rhinoceros stamp out fires?

    This is a common myth/legend in Malaysia, India, and Myanmar but has never been proven to be true.

  • What is the habitat of rhinoceros?

    It depends on the species. White rhinoceros and black rhinoceros live on grassy savannas, shrub lands and woodlands of eastern and southern Africa.

    Greater one-horned rhinos can be found in the swamps and rain forests of northern India and southern Nepal.

    Sumatran and Javan rhinos are found only in small areas of Malaysian and Indonesian swamps and rain forests.

     

Hide