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Anouk Zijlma

Fun Facts About the African Rhino and Not So Fun Facts About Rhino Poaching

By January 17, 2014

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Two White Rhinos, Mala Mala Reserve, South Africa - Rhino, Africa's Big 5 Spotting the elusive rhino while on safari is a highlight for many. Unfortunately there are hardly any left in the "true wild" these days . You are more likely to see them in the smaller private reserves where they need round the clock protection. Even that is not always enough, as a recent report on the BBC reported that 2013 was the worst year for rhino poaching in recent history - almost 3 rhinos every day in South Africa. Shocking!

I thought it would be fun to blog 10 fun facts about rhinos, (both black and white) so you can learn to appreciate this wonderful animal and perhaps help to try and save it from being poached into oblivion.

Rhinos have roamed the earth for more than 50 million years and now walk around with a price tag of about $180,000 on the end of their noses. It's absurd considering that there is about as much medicinal value in rhino horn as there is in my baby toenail. Tylenol works to reduce fevers, Viagra works to improve libido, and Alka-seltzer works for hangovers. There are plenty of new cancer drugs out there readily available in China and Vietnam - come on people, how can we help persuade you to use those instead!

10 Fun Rhino Facts

  • There are five species of rhino, two in Africa (black and white) and three species in Asia
  • Rhinos can grow to over 6 feet tall, more than 11 feet in length and weigh up to 6000 lbs.
  • Rhinos are actually neither black nor white in color, they are all grey
  • Rhinos have three toes on each foot
  • A group of rhinos is called a crash
  • Oxpeckers eat the ticks off a rhino's hide and also warn of danger
  • A charging rhino can reach speeds of 35 mph, and this is while running on their toes!
  • A rhino's horn is made of keratin, the composite is similar to a horses hoof
  • Man is the rhino's only natural predator
  • The white rhino's name derives from the Dutch "weit," meaning wide, a reference to its wide, square muzzle adapted for grazing

And the Not So Fun Rhino Facts ...

  • There are thought to be 29,000 rhinos left in the world, 20,000 of which live in South Africa.
  • Over 1000 rhinos were poached in South Africa in 2013.
  • Rhino horn has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, it is thought to cure a number of ailments from fevers to gout, and these days it's rumored to help cure cancer
  • A pound of rhino horn is worth $30,000, a kilo is worth $65,000
  • The main markets for rhino horn include China, Vietnam and Thailand where the upcoming middle classes can afford to spend more on traditional medicine.
  • Asia only has 3,000 rhino left (no surprise given the local demand)
  • 37 Rhino have already been poached in South Africa this year (2014)!

More About: The "Big Five" l Top 10 Animals to See on Safari

Images of Rhino at Mala Mala - Getty Images

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