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World Rhino Day – 22 September

RHINOCEROS: AFRICA’S ARMOURED GIANT SPECIES:

 CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (AROUND 5200 REMAIN) DICEROS BICORNIS

 Affected by: Illegal wildlife trade

The rhinoceros is Africa’s armoured giant – like a tank on legs – and has been on our planet for millions of years. But right now they need our help. Poaching of rhinos for their horns and habitat loss are huge threats to both white and black rhinos.

The ‘southern’ subspecies of white rhinos is a conservation success story and had been helped back from under 100 in 1895 to over 20,000 individuals. However recently white rhino numbers have been declining due to a surge in poaching, with 15,942 remaining in the wild today. Sadly there are no individuals from the ‘northern’ subspecies of white rhinos left in the wild, and only a handful in captivity.

For the black rhino (slightly smaller, with a more pointed top lip) the worst period was between 1970 and 1992, when around 96% of them were lost to wide-scale poaching. Only 6,195 are left in the wild today.

Poaching of rhinos for rhino horn is still a huge threat, and the poachers have got increasingly better equipped. Help us make sure we don’t lose these incredibly precious creatures.

WHY AFRICAN RHINOS ARE SO IMPORTANT

It’s not just because they’re a precious link to our planet’s ancient past…  rhinos also play a crucial role in their environment.

White rhinos are big grazers, eating lots of vegetation, which helps shape the African landscape. Other animals benefit, and it keeps a healthy balance within the environment.

Local people depend on the natural resources from these environments for food, fuel and income too. Ecotourism can be a vital sustainable source of funds for local communities. As one of Africa’s wildlife ‘big five’, rhinos are a popular sight for tourists.

By helping protect the rhino we’re helping protect its environment for the benefit of both people and wildlife for generations to come.

 

https://www.wwf.org.uk/learn/wildlife/african-rhinos    Image: GKToday

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