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On World Rhino Day, here’s a look at five endangered species of Rhino

On World Rhino Day, here’s a look at five endangered species of Rhino
  • At the beginning of the 19th century, there were 1 million rhinos left, however, that figure has now dwindled to only 27,000.
  • For years, poachers have hunted them illegally for its horns, which are used in ornamental carvings and medicine.
  • The five endangered species of rhinos include Javan rhino, Sumatran rhino, Greater one-horned rhino, Black rhino and White rhino.
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A million wildlife species are witnessing a drastic decline in its population and are at the brink of extinction around the world.

Among these wildlife animals are Rhino. They have been around for over 40 million years. From 1 million rhinos at the beginning of the 19th century, they have dwindled to a mere 27,000 now.

For years, poachers have hunted them illegally for its horns, which are used in ornamental carvings and medicine. Some of the traditional medicine practitioners also believe in the myth that rhino horns are capable of curing cancer and impotency.

Experts believe it will be very difficult to revive the population if we fail to save them now.

On World Rhino Day, take a look at five endangered species of Rhino — three of which are 'critically endangered.'

Javan Rhino

Javan Rhino
Wikipedia

Javan Rhino is one of the world’s rarest animal species. There are less than 75 of them left. Most of the Javan rhinos are at Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia.

Javan rhinos are often confused with one-horned rhinoceros but have a smaller head and lesser skin folds. It once roamed across north India but turned extinct in the South Asian country in the 20th century.


Their population significantly declined because of poaching and human encroachment. Recently, two new Javan rhino calves were spotted with its mother in Indonesia — bringing some hope for the revival of its population.
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​The Sumatran Rhino

​The Sumatran Rhino
Wikipedia

The Sumatran rhino, popularly known as Asian rhino with two horns, is the second most endangered of all rhinos. Most of them are living in Indonesia under heavy protection. There are fewer than 80 of these rhinos which are on the brink of extinction.

The species witnessed a rapid decline because of deforestation and poaching. More than 70% of the population has been depleted in the last two decades. Rhinos are hunted for their horns used in traditional medicines in many parts of Asia.

In 2019, the last female Sumatran rhino, who was about 25 years old, died at the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary in Tabin Wildlife Reserve.

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​Greater One-Horned Rhino

​Greater One-Horned Rhino

The greater one-horned Rhino, also popularly known as Indian Rhino, is one of the few species which have witnessed an increase in population over the past few years.

The Indian rhino was at the brink of extinction in the early 20th century. There were less than 200 rhinos left at the time. India managed to increase its population to more than 3,700 by 2020.

India is home to more than 80% of the greater one-horned rhino population of the world. Rare one-horned rhinos can be found in Assam, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh. However, despite stringent measures, poachers continue to hunt them.


In July this year, India lost 14 rhinos, including one-horned rhinos after heavy floods hit the Kaziranga National Park in the northeastern state of Assam.
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​Black Rhino

​Black Rhino
Wikipedia

Black Rhinos are native to the eastern and southern parts of Africa.

Between 1960 and 1995, the population of Black Rhino shrunk by a massive 98% to merely 2,500. But, its population has doubled in the last 20 years to around 5,600 now.

They are hunted for their horns. Male black rhinos can grow their horns three inches a year, while females can grow their horns to up to 5 inches a year. Rhino horns are used in Chinese medicines and even for decorative purposes in the Middle East.

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​White Rhino

​White Rhino
Keith Markilie/Unsplash

Unlike its name, the White Rhino looks just like Black Rhino, however, has a different lip shape. White Rhinos have squared lips. Its name comes from the West Germanic word ‘weit” which means wide. The white rhino also has two subspecies — northern and southern white rhino.

There are around 18,000 species of White Rhino left in the world. Most of them are found in Africa’s grassy plain — South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya.

The northern white rhino is on the brink of extinction, with only two of them left on the planet. Both northern white rhinos — Fatu and Najin — are female and are currently living at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. The last male northern white rhino died in 2018. Fatu and Najin can’t get pregnant.


Earlier this year, scientists announced that they have successfully fertilised in-vitro embryos they collected from the last two northern white rhinos. They had planned to find a surrogate mother who could give birth to the babies.
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