To the untrained eye spotting the difference between the white and black rhino can be quite difficult. Both breeds have a similar color and the same prehistoric look. Although similar, they are many differences in their look and how they socialization and interact with each other.
One of the most notable differences between the white and black rhino is their mouth. Both white and black rhinos are grazers but black rhinos have hook-shaped lips which allow them to grasp prickly shrubs and trees where white rhinos have a wide square mouth. In terms of bodies, white rhinos are typically larger and weigh more; they are slightly taller with bigger heads and longer necks.
They also have different socialization patterns. Black rhinos are typically solitary and can be shyer which keeps them in thicker bushy areas. They are also sometimes said to be bad-tempered but are just wary of their surroundings and will typically run away if they smell humans. On the other hand, white rhinos tend to be in groups and can be very social animals. In terms of rhino habitat, both white and black rhino typically hang around grassland and open savannah.
The most notable similarity of both black and white rhinos are their two horns. Both white and black rhinos can grow a horn that is as big as 150cm and are used for self-defense and attacking opponents and predators.
Rhino horn has become a hot topic in South Africa with both white and black rhinos being poached daily for their horns. It is a belief in Chinese medicine that the keratin in the horn can be used for medicinal purposes and can act as an aphrodisiac. These beliefs have created demand for rhino horn and have led to the population declining at rapid rates.
Lets review some of the white and black rhino facts in regards to poaching:
- South Africa has the largest number of rhinos making it a crucial leader in the role of rhino conservation
- Rhino horn is worth $100,000/kg, making it worth more than its weight in gold
- In 2014, 1,215 rhinos were poached and the statistics are on track to beat that in 2015 (this equals to a rhino poaching every eight hours)
- White Rhino Population in 2015: 20,000
- Black Rhino Population in 2015: 4,800
With less than 25,000 rhinos left on earth (20,000 white and 4,800 black) and a rhino being poached every 8 hours it is only a matter of time before the white and black rhino become extinct.
As an animal conservationist it is important to spread the word about poaching. If this epidemic does not end soon rhinos will be a distant memory.