There are 5 species of Rhino left in the world spanning over Africa and Asia with roughly less than 30,000 individuals left on earth. They once roamed in millions across vast landscapes without human disturbance.
Now, with hauntingly low figures, we question, is it too late? And which species next, elephants, hippopotamuses, gorillas, lemurs, even pangolins?
The White Rhino is recognized by a definitive hump on the backs of their necks and a wide, square mouth made for grazing. After an episode of near extinction in the early 1900’s, the Southern White Rhino subspecies has made a comeback with nearly 20,000 today. They are found in South Africa with similar populations in Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The Northern White Rhino was declared extinct from the wild in 2008 and currently only 3 individuals reside on a conservancy in Kenya.
The smaller of the two African Rhino species, the Black Rhino has a less pronounced hump and has a hooked lip for plucking leaves from trees. This species was hunted so heavily at the beginning of the 19th century, numbers went from several hundred thousand to just 65,000 by 1970. The consistent poaching war has driven their numbers as low as roughly 4,800 today. Although these statistics have begun to climb in the past few years, the battle continues.
‘The Hairy Rhino’ has been on earth longer than most mammal species and is now critically endangered. Once residing across parts of South East Asia; Sumatra, Indonesia, Bhutan, North East India, South China, Cambodia and Borneo, there are as few as 100 left due to habitat loss and poaching.
Greater one-Horned Rhino
Also known as, The Indian Rhino, they are semi-aquatic and characterized by their one horn giving them their scientific name, Rhinoceros unicornis. There are approximately 3,500 individuals left which is an improvement from a staggering low of 200 last century.
Another common name for the Javan Rhino is ‘The Lesser One-Horned Rhino’ and is easily identified by its scale-looking skin and deep folds, symbolizing protective armour. This is the most rare rhino species on earth with an estimated 61-63 individuals left in western Java, Indonesia.