WORLD RHINO DAY
On September 22nd, World Rhino Day celebrates five species of rhinos around the world. From a conservation perspective, the day raises awareness of the plight of these beautiful beasts.
The five species of rhinos include Black, White, Greater One-horned, Sumatran, and Javan. At one time, rhinos were found throughout Eurasia and Africa. In the early 20th century, about 500,000 rhinos roamed the earth. Today, rhinos have a hard time surviving outside national parks and reserves. The Javan and Sumatran rhinos in Asia are critically endangered. There are only about 58 to 68 Javan rhinos in the world. In 2011, a subspecies of the Javan rhino was declared extinct. Today, only 80 Sumatran rhinos remain.
In India, the greater one-horned rhino (also called the Indian rhino) increases in number thanks to conservation efforts. Today, there are more than 3,500 of these rhinos. However, they are still considered vulnerable. The Black rhino is also critically endangered. Of the five rhino species, white rhinos boast the highest numbers, with more than 20,000. Things that threaten rhinos include poaching, loss of habitat, disease, and natural disasters. Some people hunt rhinos because they believe the horns have powerful healing properties. They illegally sell the horns to be ground into powder. As a result, poachers hunt the animal only to harvest the horns.
Some interesting facts about rhinos include:
- A group of rhinos is called a crash
- Rhinos are herbivores
- Their horns are made from keratin, the same substance as our fingernails
- Rhinos have a great sense of hearing and smell but not sight
- They wallow in the mud to protect their skin from the sun
- The gestation rate for rhinos is up to 16 months
Because of their thick skin and deadly horns, rhinos have no natural predators. The Black rhino is the most aggressive of all the species. The White rhino is the largest species and weighs up to 5,000 pounds. Some rhinos have two horns.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WORLD RHINO DAY
World Rhino Day is a time to spread awareness on how to save the rhinos. Zoos, reserves, and rhino sanctuaries around the world host a variety of events. World Rhino Day is especially popular in Africa. Concerts, mountain bike races, art auctions, soccer tournaments, and anti-poaching benefits are just a few of the many kinds of events held.
If you want to participate in World Rhino Day, learn about rhinos. If your zoo has a rhino exhibit, go check it out. Donate to charities that support rhino conservation. Some of these include the World Wildlife Fund and the International Rhino Fund. Watch a documentary, such as The Last Rhinos, that discusses rhino poaching and extinction.
No matter what you do, be sure to use #WorldRhinoDay when sharing on social media.
WORLD RHINO DAY HISTORY
World Rhino Day was announced by the World Wildlife Fund-South Africa in 2010. Just one year later in 2011, World Rhino Day became an international success. Since then, NGOs, zoos, concerned individuals and wildlife organizations around the world unite each year to celebrate World Rhino Day.