White Rhino

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Scientific Name: Ceratotherium simum

Larger, and arguably more placid, than the black rhino but not too different in colour. The name ‘white’ stems from the Dutch word for wide ‘weit’.

Distribution
Once widely distributed across Africa the present population stem from the last few that were saved in the Umfolozi Game Reserve. Saved from extinction the white rhino can now be found in game reserves and private land. Translocation to Kenya, Botswana and Zimbabwe have helped the species numbers grow.

Social structure
This is a more sociable species than the black rhino and groups consisting of a territorial bull, cows and calf and even sub-ordinate bulls can be found.

Range differentiation
Sub-species occurred across the range but in recent times have been mixed to ensure survival of the species.

Habitat
Found in areas of woodland savanna with grass for grazing and bush for shade.

Feeding
White rhino are selective grazers, preferring short grasses.

Breeding
Although there may be a peak in some areas the white rhino generally breeds year round. A calf is born after a 16 month gestation period. The cow will stay apart from the group for some days. Unlike the calves of the black rhino, white rhino calves walk in front of the mother.

A young rhino keeps very close to its mother for protection.
Male white rhino scuffing the dusty earth

As part of its territorial marking a male white rhino will scuff the earth.

Although the white rhino is considered one of the big five today together with the black rhino, it was historically the black rhino that hunters counted in the elite group.

The name white stems from the Dutch word for wide ‘weit’ which was mistakenly thought to mean white. The mouth of the white rhino is square which is suitable for grazing.
Territories

Territorial bulls will move onto the territories of other bulls when there is no water in their territory, but they will show subordinate behaviour and the territorial bulls will tolerate them. They will use the same paths every time they cross another bull’s territory. When a cow is in estrus, however, the territorial bulls reaction may be very aggressive.

Bulls mark their territories with the aid of dung middens located around the perimeter of his territory. They will scuff the ground with their hind feet after defecating and may spray urine on the midden.
Insects and survival

The white rhino was pulled from the brink of extinction due to conservation efforts of the Umfolozi Game reserve in South Africa. These last surviving rhino were initially saved by the malaria carrying mosquito that was prevalent in the area at the time. Hunters were not too keen to venture into the bush and thus the last few rhino were saved.

White rhino are generally less agressive than black rhino
White rhino are generally more placid than the black rhino.
Male white rhino scuffing the dusty earth
A male white rhino sprays scent to mark his territory.
The young of the white rhino walks in front of the mother.