Today, September 22, is World Rhino Day. As someone who loves rhinos, I knew I had to make a post to celebrate this day. Rhinos have been my favorite animal since I was a little kid. I remember first seeing them in nature documentaries that I used to watch and was absolutely enthralled with these beautiful creatures. The first time I saw one in a zoo as a child, it was such a magical experience. It felt almost surreal seeing this creature from Africa not far away. I would have given anything to be able to touch it. Honestly, I still feel that way today. Seeing a rhino in African wilds up close is on my bucket list. So, today, I am sharing my rhino love with you. Hopefully, you will enjoy reading about these creatures.
World Rhino Day
- There are five species of rhinos in the world. The White Rhino, Black Rhino, Sumatran Rhino, Indian Rhino (also known as the Greater One-Horned Rhino), and the Javan Rhino.
- The estimated worldwide population of rhinos is about 30,000. Of those, about 20,000 are White Rhinos.
- A rhino has an average gestation period of 16 months. A female will then not have a calf again for 2-4 years. This slow gestation rate means that births are outpaced by poaching deaths.
- Though habitat loss is a contributor to the decline in the rhino population, poaching is also a major factor. It is estimated that 3 rhinos are killed every day.
- A rhino’s eyesight is quite poor, however, their sense of hearing and smell is very strong.
How to help rhinos
Protecting rhinos from poachers and increasing their numbers through conservation and breeding programs is key to helping these species recover enough to be removed from the endangered list. You can help by making donations to rhino conservation programs. I have listed a few below, if you want to donate, then please do.
In 2017, poachers attacked and killed two orphan rhinos in the Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage. This lead to the decision to close down, as they could no longer guarantee the safety of their rhinos or staff. The remaining rhinos were sent to other locations to continue with their rehabilitation efforts.
On March 19, 2018, Sudan, the last living male Northern White Rhino was euthanized. He was 45 years old and had been struggling with some medical issues. This left only two Northern White Rhinos left in the world, both of them being female. However, this is not necessarily the end of the species, as sperm had been collected and may be used in the near future to revive the Northern White Rhino numbers by using Southern White Rhinos as surrogate mothers.
More sad news for the Black Rhino as all 11 rhinos that were relocated to Tsavo East National Park have died. An investigation into their deaths was conducted.
A recent arrest of a suspected rhino poaching syndicate revealed that two members were also police officers, and a third individual was a former police officer.
Now onto some good news. This month, San Diego Zoo announced that a second Southern White Rhino is pregnant. The first pregnancy was announced back in May. This is especially interesting as both females were artificially inseminated, something that is rarely successful in rhinos.
San Diego Zoo also recently sent a male Black Rhino, which had been born at the zoo, to live in a wildlife reserve in Africa. This is a big step towards helping this species numbers increase, especially as it adds more genetic diversity.
The number of Greater One-Horned Rhinos living within Kaziranga National Park has increased by 12 in the last three years. This increase may be small, but every increase in the rhino population is a step in the right direction.
There are quite a few books about rhinos, from children’s books to non-fiction. I have read some of these books, however, there is one in particular that stood out to me. Written by Lawrence Anthony, The Last Rhinos is an autobiographical look at his conservation work with rhinos all around Africa. This book was truly an eye-opener, showing the struggles of conservationists trying to save endangered species. He also mentions some of this other work within Africa, including how he came to be at Thula Thula and his adventures of bringing in a herd of unwanted elephants – he wrote a book about the elephants which was also very good.
I would highly recommend reading this book, as it really showcases the daily struggles of keeping an endangered species, like the rhino, safe from poachers and how even with all those measures in place, poachers still find a way to get the horns. It also explains how corrupt governments will block conservation efforts in an attempt to get their pockets lined with money. If you read only one book about rhinos, this is the book to pick up.
Meet my rhinos
It wouldn’t be rhino day if I didn’t show off my collection of rhinos. As I mentioned in my A to Z post, I love rhinos and have a small collection of rhino items. I have been slowly building this collection for over 20 years. You would think given that much time it would be much larger, but to be perfectly honest, finding rhino items is quite difficult.
Some of these rhinos have a story behind them, while others were spotted in a store, and then “I need that!” came out of my mouth as I grabbed whatever it was and headed to the cashier. In the cases of those that have stories, I will share them, otherwise, I will simply post a picture.
I remember the day I got this amazing rhino sculpture as if it were yesterday. It was back in high school and my best friend and I were exchanging Christmas gifts. I don’t remember what I got her, but this glass rhino statue is what she got me. I couldn’t believe it! I remember being so happy when I opened that present. I was also shocked. I knew how hard it was to find anything rhino-related, so to get such an amazingly crafted gift was beyond anything I could have imagined. After I finished freaking out over it, she told me how her mom and she went to this place that sold hand-crafted glass items and they happened to have this rhino. It was an easy decision for her to get this for me for Christmas. I have taken it with me nearly every time I have moved, except when I went to college, and I am always super careful that the box never gets bumped because I know it is one of a kind and it could never be replaced.
Of all of the rhino items that I own, I believe that this one is the first non-toy that I bought. It was purchased at the San Diego store. Does anyone remember that chain? I’m pretty sure they are all closed now. Anyway, I always used to go into that store whenever my family went to the city for a trip. They always had such neats things, and it was all cheap too, so it was the perfect place to buy things to decorate my room. Well, one day I was looking and they had this rhino bust! I knew immediately that I had to get it. The price tag said $18.00 and at that moment, I knew it was coming home with me.
I have to say, that for a cheap item, the quality of it is very good. Admittedly the smaller rhino at the bottom of it has a few chips out of it and the paint isn’t perfect, but that store was known for having damaged merchandise. I think that’s why everything was so cheap. I remember going back to the store many times after that, but I never saw another rhino item.
This one below is by far the biggest rhino in my collection. I remember the store we bought it from was full of these realistic stuffed animals, some were smaller and others were life-sized – I still want the life-sized horse they had. Anyway, being curious we went into this store and I wanted to buy everything. As I was perusing all of the pretty things, I spotted something I never thought that I would find – a large stuffed rhino. It was on a high shelf and I could not find a store clerk fast enough. I had them take it down for me and I was in love. It was the most gorgeous thing I had ever seen. I remember giving my husband a look, the one that said: “I’m not leaving this store until it’s mine”. At $100 it was a bit pricey, but given the quality, I thought that was a major deal. It didn’t take long for my husband to pull out his wallet and I left the store a very happy woman.
There are actually several other sizes available of this rhino, some are smaller, but the one I would love to own one day is about the size of a large dog. That would be the ultimate rhino collection piece.
Ah, now this little rhino, known as the ugly rhino, has a funny story. My husband and I went on vacation and we were going through a random dollar store. We were intending to buy something for our son, who was at home with the grandparents, so were scouring the toy section for anything good. There was a bin of small stuff toys and in it was the little rhino. My husband held it and announced that I needed it, after all, he knows all about my rhino obsession. I looked at it and said, “It’s too ugly.” He then proceeded to move the rhino towards me and made a funny sound. I couldn’t help but laugh and then decided that for that reason alone, we would buy the rhino. It is still known as the ugly rhino, but I can’t help but love it – especially when my husband picks it up and makes that noise again.
Here’s a fun story. So these two white rhino toys have been through quite a bit. I don’t remember when I got them, but they have been in my collection most of the time. When I went off to college, I took them with me. They sat on my small desk and it made me happy every time I saw them. Then I moved back home and upon unpacking, I couldn’t find the baby. I was devastated. These rhinos were no longer available in-store and I was sad that the mother would be alone forever. Fast forward a few years later, when I moved yet again and as I put things in my apartment, I found the baby rhino tucked safely in a box. I was obviously quite excited and went to return it to its mother. Only, I couldn’t find the mother anymore. Now I was annoyed because I finally found the missing rhino and the other rhino was gone. I remember tearing through every box and couldn’t find it.
Another few years passed and I moved a few more times. When my husband and I were going through our crawlspace one day, trying to clean it, I came upon a box of my items, and inside was the mother rhino! I couldn’t believe it. She had been missing for a good 5 years at that point and I had given up on finding her. Luckily, this time I knew where the baby was, and the family was reunited once more. To this day I have no idea how they went missing at different times, but I am so glad that I didn’t actually lose either of them.
Who else loves these majestic creatures? Would you love to see a rhino in the wild?