This year’s theme for World Rhino Day is “Five Rhino Species Forever”, which celebrates both the African and Asian rhino species. Currently the statistics for rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park is at 489 for this year.
It is indeed worrying that we are still losing such a high number of rhinos but the increasing number of successful arrests and steeper sentences such as the combined 58 years imprisonment imposed on two suspected rhino poachers recently is encouraging.
With this World Rhino Day I would like to share some facts about our Rhino.
Rhino is short for rhinocerous, which means “nose horn.” The rhino’s horn is not bone and it’s not attached to its skull. In fact, its hollow and made from a protein called keratin, the same substance that makes up fingernails and hair. Just like our own hair and nails, a rhino’s horn continues to grow throughout the animal’s lifetime.
Rhinos can grow to over 6 feet tall and more than 11 feet long. The white rhino is the second largest land mammal after the elephant, with adult males weighing up to a massive 3.6 tons. Thanks to conservation efforts, this rhino species was brought back from the brink of extinction. But a surge in poaching for their horns has seen a record number killed in recent years. There are 20,000 southern white rhinos living in protected areas and private game reserves, mostly in South Africa, and just four northern white rhinos living in captivity in Kenya and the United States
Rhinoceros pregnancies last for 15 to 16 months and mother rhinos are very nurturing. Their young stay with them until they are about 3 years old, according to Save the Rhino.
Protect our Rhino through sustainable Hunting and Conservation. That is the only way our Rhino will survive. Happy World Rhino day.
PH, Bernard de Lange