White rhino: habitat, description, lifestyle features
The world of nature is fascinating and mysterious. On Earth, there are many interesting animals. However, it is very sad to realize that today many species are in danger of extinction, and therefore are listed in the Red Book. And the animals suffer, although it is sad to realize this, mainly due to the fault of man.
An example of this is the white rhinos, who have experienced similar human “care.” The northern subspecies of this animal now needs to restore the genus. Recently, the last male died of old age, and only 5 females remained on Earth.
The article presents some information about one of the largest representatives of the animal world.
The white rhino mainly inhabits South Africa: Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. This Ceratotherium simum simum Burchell is a southern subspecies.
The second subspecies is the northern rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum cottoni Lydekker, currently living in Congo and Sudan.
The white rhinoceros belongs to the order of the unpacific rhinoceros.
The animal is huge, dangerous, with a powerful and muscular body, sharp horns and impressive hooves. It is the largest representative of the family, being the second largest among land animals (the first is an elephant).
The body weight of an old male can reach 5 tons, body length - 4.2 meters, and height - up to 2 meters. The maximum length of the horn is 158 cm - this is a record. On average, the weight of the animal is about 2.5 tons.
Curious is that there is absolutely nothing white in the rhino. Rather, its body color is slate gray, almost dark. Unlike its fellow black rhino, it is a little bit lighter. Why, then, was he called white? There was a slight confusion: the locals called it wijde (translated from the Boer language - “wide” or “wide-mordy”), and the British by this sound called it white, which translates from their language as “white”. Hence the name of the white rhino spread to other countries.
Difference from black rhino
The main difference between the white and black rhinoceros is that its upper lip is flat and wide, whereas in black it is pointed like a proboscis. The structure of the lip of the first one corresponds to its purpose: the main food is grassy vegetation, and not shrubs.
The animal bites the vegetation near the ground, and the keratinized sharp edge of the lower lip completely compensates for the incisors that are missing from it.
Usually rhinos live in small groups, but sometimes there are herds consisting of 16-18 individuals. Basically, the group consists of females and babies, feeding on their own, but not yet able to do without a mother. Sometimes old males become attached to such groups, but their females with calves endure only in those cases if they do not attempt to mate. Otherwise, they are expelled from the herd, and sometimes it comes even to kill them.
Males, in turn, do not tolerate any rivalry during the rut. Even a calf that is close to the mother can be in danger of being killed by adult males at such a moment. But they are most aggressive towards each other. Often, fierce battles end with the death of one of the males.
In the case of a general danger, white rhinos take a peculiar defensive position: they become in a tight circle with their heads out to cover their young. In addition, old males mark their plots with their fragrant tags.
As a rule, in hot weather, rhinos hide in the shadows, and graze out at dusk. At moderate temperatures, they graze most of the day. Necessary for these animals, as well as for the black species, mud baths and watering. Where rhinos bathe, they are waiting for marsh turtles, pulling out of the skin of an animal lying in the mud, drunk ticks.
What does a white rhino eat? The menu, as noted above, mainly consists of low-growing grassy vegetation, in the biting of which the lower lip of this species of rhino plays an important role.
They can eat and shrubs, but, in comparison with other rhinos, they do it very rarely, only when absolutely necessary.
Man and rhino
This species, like the rest of the rhinos, was subjected to the strongest pressure from people. If African peoples hunted this animal occasionally (due to the lack of weapons among the tribes), then with the advent of Europeans, the situation has changed a lot. Uncontrolled hunting in the XIX century led these animals to the verge of extinction.
How many white rhinos in the world? Today, the total number of the southern subspecies is about 11 thousand heads.
By law, white rhinos can only be hunted under a license.Its value today is hundreds of thousands of dollars. Shooting animals is strictly controlled. Yet the population of these animals continues to suffer from poaching. This is due to the fact that among the indigenous peoples of Africa there is a legend about the healing benefits of powder made from the horns of white rhinos. Therefore, they are the desired goal of the tribes of this continent. These rhinos, like the Asian brethren, are victims of such superstition. Poaching is still not obsolete in Africa.
In conclusion of the world's last white northern rhinoceros
As noted above, the last of the males of the northern subspecies of the white rhinoceros, who lived in Kenya in the Al Pedget Nature Reserve, recently died.
Sudan (name of rhino) was 45 years old. The veterinarians made a decision to put him to sleep, as he suffered from several age-related diseases: his muscles atrophied, his bones crumbled, and so on. According to doctors, he stopped getting up quite a bit in the last 24 hours and suffered from pain.
Fortunately, scientists have preserved the genetic material of the male, hoping that it will be possible to ensure that the small northern rhinos reappear.