White Rhinoceros

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iWhite Rhinoceros
Image:Black Rhinoceros.jpg
A grazing white rhinoceros.
Conservation status


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Rhinocerotidae
Genus: Ceratotherium
Species: C. simum
Binomial name
Ceratotherium simum
Burchell, 1817

Ceratotherium simum simum
Ceratotherium simum cottoni

The White Rhinoceros or Square-lipped rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) is one of the five species of rhinoceros that still exists and is one of the few megafauna species left. Behind the elephant, this is probably the most massive remaining land animal. The average size range of a mature white rhino is a weight of 1800-3000 kg (4000-6600 lb), a head-and-body length of 3.35-4.2 m (11-13.9 feet) and a shoulder height of 150-185 cm (60-73 inches). The record-sized White Rhinoceros was about 3600 kg. It is native to north-eastern and southern Africa. The rhinos tend to group in herds of one to seven animals, though they are solitary animals. On its snout it has two horns made of keratin fibers (not bone, as in deer antlers).

The White Rhinoceros also has a noticeable hump on the back of its neck which supports its large head. Each of the rhino's four feet has three toes. It is capable of going four or five days without water. It can reach a trotting speed of 18 mph and can canter at 25 mph.


[edit] Subspecies

[edit] Southern white rhinoceros

There are two subspecies of White Rhinos; as of 2005, South Africa has the most of the first subspecies, The Southern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum). Their population is about 11,000, making them the most abundant subspecies of rhino in the world. Wild-caught southern whites will readily breed in captivity given appropriate amounts of space and food, as well as the presence of other female rhinos of breeding age. For instance, 91 calves have been born at the San Diego Wild Animal Park since 1972. However, for reasons that are not currently understood, the rate of reproduction is extremely low among captive-born southern white females.<ref>Swaisgood, Ron. "Scientific Detective Work in Practice: Trying to Solve the Mystery of Poor Captive-born White Rhinocerous Reproduction", CRES Report, Zoological Society of San Diego, Summer 2006, pp. 1-3.</ref>

There are also two White Rhinos in Livingstone, Zambia (in the Mosi-o-tunia zoological park).

[edit] Northern white rhinoceros

The Northern White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), formerly found in several countries in East and Central Africa south of the Sahara, is considered Critically Endangered, while its southern relative is currently the most abundant of all rhino taxa known today. Their wild population has been reduced from about 500 in the 1970s to only about four today. <ref>International Rhino Foundation. 2002. Rhino Information - Northern White Rhino. Downloaded from [1] at 19 September 2006.</ref>

[edit] Name

The name White Rhino originated in South Africa where the Afrikaans language developed from the Dutch language. The Afrikaans word "wyd" (derived from the Dutch word "wijd"), which means "wide", referred to the width of the Rhinoceros mouth. Early English settlers in South Africa misinterpreted the "wyd" for "white". So the rhino with the wide mouth ended up being called the White Rhino and the other one, with the narrow pointed mouth, was called the Black Rhinoceros. The wide mouth was adapted to cropping large swaths of grass, while the narrow mouth was adapted to eating leaves on bushes. A White Rhino's skin color is quite similar to that of the Black Rhino. An alternative common name for the white rhinoceros, more accurate but rarely used, is the square-lipped rhinoceros. The White Rhinoceros' genus, Ceratotherium, appropriately means "horned beast". The White Rhinoceros' epithet, simum, is from the Greek simus, meaning "flat nosed" Simum also means a sand storm.

[edit] Poaching

Like the Black Rhino, the White Rhino is under threat from habitat loss and poaching, most recently by an offshoot of the janjaweed. A recent population count in the Congo turned up only 10 rhinos left in the wild, which led conservationists in January 2005 to propose airlifting White Rhinos from Garamba into Kenya. Although official approval was initially obtained, resentment of foreign interference within the Congo has prevented the airlift from happening as of the beginning of 2006.

[edit] Gallery

[edit] References

  • African Rhino Specialist Group (2003). Ceratotherium simum. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is near threatened


[edit] External links

ca:Rinoceront blanc cs:Nosorožec tuponosý da:Hvidt næsehorn de:Breitmaulnashorn es:Ceratotherium simum fr:Rhinocéros blanc it:Ceratotherium simum he:קרנף רחב שפה lt:Plačialūpis raganosis nl:Witte neushoorn pl:Nosorożec afrykański pt:Rinoceronte-branco fi:Leveähuulisarvikuono sv:Trubbnoshörning vi:Tê giác trắng zh:白犀

White Rhinoceros

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