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Extinction watch: Rhinoceros, hunted for its horn


The word “rhinoceros” comes from the Greek “rhino” (nose) and “ceros” (horn). Theirhornsare prized for their supposed healing and aphrodisiacal properties. Their horns are also sold as trophies and used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Poachers value rhino horns for making ornamental dagger handles called jambiyas, according to Save the Rhino.

There are five species and 11 subspecies of rhino; some have two horns, while others have one.

According to International Union for Conservation of Nature, Black rhinos, Sumatran rhinos and Javan rhinos are “critically endangered”.

There are 5,055 black rhinos, less than 100 Sumatran rhinos and only 35 to 44 Javan rhinos.

Of the white rhinos, there are two subspecies: the northern and southern white rhino and are found in two different regions in Africa. As of March 2018, there are only two rhinos of the northern white rhino left, both female.

The majority (98.8%) of the southern white rhinos are found in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Classified as Near Threatened between 19,600 and 21,000 animals exist in protected areas and reserves.

Rhinoceroses are herbivores but their snouts are differently shaped to eat different types of food, according to National Geographic.

Though rhinos don’t often hang out with each other, they do hang out with birds. The oxpecker will sit on a rhino’s back and eat the bugs that crawl on the skin. The Jambiyas became a status symbol in Yemen in the 1970s and 1980s, fuelled by the oil boom, when more people could afford luxury items.

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