When talking about the Southern White rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum), we generally speak of the species as a conservation success story. Remarkably, these animals were brought back from fewer than 100 individuals in the early 1900s to around 20,000 individuals today. But what led up to that initial crisis point? Why did their numbers get... Continue Reading →
In his book, The Future of Life, biologist Edward O. Wilson had this to say about the first time he laid eyes upon the rare Sumatran rhinoceros in the flesh: “One of the most memorable events of my life occurred on a late May evening in 1994, in a back room of the Cincinnati Zoo,... Continue Reading →
Oddly enough, the Sumatran rhinos of southeast Asia - the smallest and most endangered rhinos in the world - are more closely related to the extinct woolly rhino than they are to any of the four other living rhino species. The woolly rhino, an Ice Age creature, became extinct several thousand years ago. Its images... Continue Reading →
The Javan rhino is the rarest of the world’s five remaining rhino species, having lost most of its Asian tropical forest habitat over the last century, as well as having been hunted relentlessly for its horn, which only the males possess. Well under one hundred animals are estimated to survive in a single national park... Continue Reading →
In addition to their horns, rhinos have been killed through the ages for their meat and skin. In India, the skin of the greater one-horned rhino was historically fashioned into shields or cooked in hot oil and eaten as “cracklings”.
Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis), Pittsburgh Zoo It might seem strange, but the first members of the rhino family to appear on the evolutionary scene some 40 million years ago were hornless. Paleontologists place them in the Family Rhinocerotidae based on similarities in dentition, especially tusk-like incisors that remain prominent in today’s greater one-horned and Javan rhinos... Continue Reading →
By Bill Konstant, IRF Program Officer August 27, 1883. It’s been called “the day the world exploded.” One hundred and thirty years ago this month, the volcanic island of Krakatau (Krakatoa) blew its top. The smoking mountain had given several days warning to the human inhabitants of Java and Sumatra, the closest large islands, but... Continue Reading →
Perhaps the most famous illustration of a rhinoceros ever made was an ink drawing or woodcut done nearly five centuries ago by the German artist Albrecht Durer. Interestingly enough, Durer had never laid eyes upon a living rhinoceros, but based his detailed work on the inferior sketch penned by an unknown artist who had. Thus,... Continue Reading →