Rhinoceros
Overview
Rhinoceros also known as rhino, is a group of five extant species of odd-toed ungulate
Odd-toed ungulate
An odd-toed ungulate is a mammal with hooves that feature an odd number of toes. Odd-toed ungulates comprise the order Perissodactyla . The middle toe on each hoof is usually larger than its neighbours...

s in the family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 Rhinocerotidae. Two of these species are native to Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and three to southern Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

.

The rhinoceros family is characterized by its large size (one of the largest remaining megafauna
Megafauna
In terrestrial zoology, megafauna are "giant", "very large" or "large" animals. The most common thresholds used are or...

), with all of the species able to reach one tonne
Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

 or more in weight; an herbivorous
Herbivore
Herbivores are organisms that are anatomically and physiologically adapted to eat plant-based foods. Herbivory is a form of consumption in which an organism principally eats autotrophs such as plants, algae and photosynthesizing bacteria. More generally, organisms that feed on autotrophs in...

 diet; a thick protective skin, 1.5–5 cm thick, formed from layers of collagen
Collagen
Collagen is a group of naturally occurring proteins found in animals, especially in the flesh and connective tissues of mammals. It is the main component of connective tissue, and is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up about 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content...

 positioned in a lattice
Crystal structure
In mineralogy and crystallography, crystal structure is a unique arrangement of atoms or molecules in a crystalline liquid or solid. A crystal structure is composed of a pattern, a set of atoms arranged in a particular way, and a lattice exhibiting long-range order and symmetry...

 structure; relatively small brains for mammals this size (400–600 g); and a large horn.
Encyclopedia
Rhinoceros also known as rhino, is a group of five extant species of odd-toed ungulate
Odd-toed ungulate
An odd-toed ungulate is a mammal with hooves that feature an odd number of toes. Odd-toed ungulates comprise the order Perissodactyla . The middle toe on each hoof is usually larger than its neighbours...

s in the family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 Rhinocerotidae. Two of these species are native to Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and three to southern Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

.

The rhinoceros family is characterized by its large size (one of the largest remaining megafauna
Megafauna
In terrestrial zoology, megafauna are "giant", "very large" or "large" animals. The most common thresholds used are or...

), with all of the species able to reach one tonne
Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

 or more in weight; an herbivorous
Herbivore
Herbivores are organisms that are anatomically and physiologically adapted to eat plant-based foods. Herbivory is a form of consumption in which an organism principally eats autotrophs such as plants, algae and photosynthesizing bacteria. More generally, organisms that feed on autotrophs in...

 diet; a thick protective skin, 1.5–5 cm thick, formed from layers of collagen
Collagen
Collagen is a group of naturally occurring proteins found in animals, especially in the flesh and connective tissues of mammals. It is the main component of connective tissue, and is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up about 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content...

 positioned in a lattice
Crystal structure
In mineralogy and crystallography, crystal structure is a unique arrangement of atoms or molecules in a crystalline liquid or solid. A crystal structure is composed of a pattern, a set of atoms arranged in a particular way, and a lattice exhibiting long-range order and symmetry...

 structure; relatively small brains for mammals this size (400–600 g); and a large horn. They generally eat leafy material, although their ability to ferment food in their hindgut
Colon (anatomy)
The colon is the last part of the digestive system in most vertebrates; it extracts water and salt from solid wastes before they are eliminated from the body, and is the site in which flora-aided fermentation of unabsorbed material occurs. Unlike the small intestine, the colon does not play a...

 allows them to subsist on more fibrous plant matter, if necessary. Unlike other perissodactyls, the African species of rhinoceros lack teeth at the front of their mouths, relying instead on their powerful premolar
Premolar
The premolar teeth or bicuspids are transitional teeth located between the canine and molar teeth. In humans, there are two premolars per quadrant, making eight premolars total in the mouth. They have at least two cusps. Premolars can be considered as a 'transitional tooth' during chewing, or...

 and molar
Molar (tooth)
Molars are the rearmost and most complicated kind of tooth in most mammals. In many mammals they grind food; hence the Latin name mola, "millstone"....

 teeth to grind up plant food.

Rhinoceros are killed by humans for their horns, which are bought and sold on the black market, and which are used by some cultures for ornamental or (pseudo-scientific) medicinal purposes. The horns are made of keratin
Keratin
Keratin refers to a family of fibrous structural proteins. Keratin is the key of structural material making up the outer layer of human skin. It is also the key structural component of hair and nails...

, the same type of protein that makes up hair
Hair
Hair is a filamentous biomaterial, that grows from follicles found in the dermis. Found exclusively in mammals, hair is one of the defining characteristics of the mammalian class....

 and fingernails
Nail (anatomy)
A nail is a horn-like envelope covering the dorsal aspect of the terminal phalanges of fingers and toes in humans, most non-human primates, and a few other mammals. Nails are similar to claws, which are found on numerous other animals....

. Both African species and the Sumatran Rhinoceros
Sumatran Rhinoceros
The Sumatran Rhinoceros is a member of the family Rhinocerotidae and one of five extant rhinoceroses. It is the only extant species of the genus Dicerorhinus. It is the smallest rhinoceros, although is still a large mammal. This rhino stands high at the shoulder, with a head-and-body length of ...

 have two horns, while the Indian and Javan Rhinoceros
Javan Rhinoceros
The Javan Rhinoceros or Lesser One-horned Rhinoceros is a member of the family Rhinocerotidae and one of five extant rhinoceroses...

 have a single horn.

The IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species , founded in 1963, is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world's main authority on the conservation status of species...

 identifies three of the species as critically endangered
Critically endangered
Version 2010.3 of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species identified 3744 Critically Endangered species, subspecies and varieties, stocks and subpopulations.Critically Endangered by kingdom:*1993 Animalia*2 Fungi*1745 Plantae*4 Protista-References:...

.

Taxonomy and naming

The word rhinoceros is derived through Latin from the , which is composed of (rhino-, "nose
Nose
Anatomically, a nose is a protuberance in vertebrates that houses the nostrils, or nares, which admit and expel air for respiration in conjunction with the mouth. Behind the nose are the olfactory mucosa and the sinuses. Behind the nasal cavity, air next passes through the pharynx, shared with the...

") and (keras, "horn
Horn (anatomy)
A horn is a pointed projection of the skin on the head of various animals, consisting of a covering of horn surrounding a core of living bone. True horns are found mainly among the ruminant artiodactyls, in the families Antilocapridae and Bovidae...

"). The plural in English is rhinoceros or rhinoceroses. The collective noun for a group of rhinoceroses is crash or herd. Recently, due to an increase of poachers, most Rhinoceros have been classified as extinct in the wild.

The five living species fall into three categories. The two African species, the White Rhinoceros
White Rhinoceros
The White Rhinoceros or Square-lipped rhinoceros is one of the five species of rhinoceros that still exist. It has a wide mouth used for grazing and is the most social of all rhino species...

 and the Black Rhinoceros
Black Rhinoceros
The Black Rhinoceros or Hook-lipped Rhinoceros , is a species of rhinoceros, native to the eastern and central areas of Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Angola...

, diverged during the early Pliocene
Pliocene
The Pliocene Epoch is the period in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.332 million to 2.588 million years before present. It is the second and youngest epoch of the Neogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Pliocene follows the Miocene Epoch and is followed by the Pleistocene Epoch...

 (about 5 million years ago) but the Dicerotini group to which they belong originated in the middle Miocene
Miocene
The Miocene is a geological epoch of the Neogene Period and extends from about . The Miocene was named by Sir Charles Lyell. Its name comes from the Greek words and and means "less recent" because it has 18% fewer modern sea invertebrates than the Pliocene. The Miocene follows the Oligocene...

, about 14.2 million years ago. The main difference between black and white rhinos is the shape of their mouths. White rhinos have broad flat lips for grazing and black rhinos have long pointed lips for eating foliage. A popular — if unverified — theory claims that the name White Rhinoceros was actually a mistake, or rather a corruption of the word weid ("wide" in Afrikaans
Afrikaans
Afrikaans is a West Germanic language, spoken natively in South Africa and Namibia. It is a daughter language of Dutch, originating in its 17th century dialects, collectively referred to as Cape Dutch .Afrikaans is a daughter language of Dutch; see , , , , , .Afrikaans was historically called Cape...

), referring to their square lips.

White Rhinoceros are divided into Northern and Southern subspecies. There are two living Rhinocerotini species, the Indian Rhinoceros
Indian Rhinoceros
The Indian Rhinoceros is also called Greater One-horned Rhinoceros and Asian One-horned Rhinoceros and belongs to the Rhinocerotidae family...

 and the Javan Rhinoceros
Javan Rhinoceros
The Javan Rhinoceros or Lesser One-horned Rhinoceros is a member of the family Rhinocerotidae and one of five extant rhinoceroses...

, which diverged from one another about 10 million years ago. The Sumatran Rhinoceros
Sumatran Rhinoceros
The Sumatran Rhinoceros is a member of the family Rhinocerotidae and one of five extant rhinoceroses. It is the only extant species of the genus Dicerorhinus. It is the smallest rhinoceros, although is still a large mammal. This rhino stands high at the shoulder, with a head-and-body length of ...

 is the only surviving representative of the most primitive group, the Dicerorhinini, which emerged in the Miocene (about 20 million years ago). The extinct Woolly Rhinoceros
Woolly Rhinoceros
The woolly rhinoceros is an extinct species of rhinoceros that was common throughout Europe and Asia during the Pleistocene epoch and survived the last glacial period. The genus name Coelodonta means "cavity tooth"...

 of northern Europe and Asia was also a member of this tribe.
A subspecific hybrid white rhino (Ceratotherium s. simum × C. s. cottoni) was bred at the Dvůr Králové Zoo (Zoological Garden Dvur Kralove nad Labem) in the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 in 1977. Interspecific hybridisation of Black and White Rhinoceros has also been confirmed.

All rhinoceros species have 82 chromosome
Chromosome
A chromosome is an organized structure of DNA and protein found in cells. It is a single piece of coiled DNA containing many genes, regulatory elements and other nucleotide sequences. Chromosomes also contain DNA-bound proteins, which serve to package the DNA and control its functions.Chromosomes...

s (diploid number, 2N, per cell), except the Black Rhinoceros, which has 84.

White Rhinoceros

There are two subspecies
Subspecies
Subspecies in biological classification, is either a taxonomic rank subordinate to species, ora taxonomic unit in that rank . A subspecies cannot be recognized in isolation: a species will either be recognized as having no subspecies at all or two or more, never just one...

 of White Rhinos; as of 2005, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 has the most of the first subspecies, the Southern White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum). The population of Southern White Rhinos is about 14,500, making them the most abundant subspecies of rhino in the world. However, the population of the second subspecies, the critically endangered Northern White Rhinoceros
Northern White Rhinoceros
The northern white rhinoceros, or northern square-lipped rhinoceros , is one of the two subspecies of the white rhinoceros. This subspecies is a grazer in grasslands and savanna woodlands. These animals are now feared to be extinct in the wild. There are currently seven left in captivity...

 (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), is down to as few as four individuals in the wild, with the possibility of complete extinction in the wild having been noted since June of 2008. Six are known to be held in captivity, two of which reside in a zoo in San Diego. There are currently four born in a zoo in the Czech Republic which were transferred to a wildlife refuge in Kenya in December 2009, in an effort to have the animals reproduce and save the subspecies.

The White Rhino has an immense body and large head, a short neck and broad chest. This rhino can exceed 3500 kg (7,716.2 lb), have a head-and-body length of 3.5–4.6 m (11.5–15.1 ft) and a shoulder height of 1.8–2 m (5.9–6.6 ft). The record-sized White Rhinoceros was about 4500 kg (9,920.8 lb). On its snout it has two horns
Horn (anatomy)
A horn is a pointed projection of the skin on the head of various animals, consisting of a covering of horn surrounding a core of living bone. True horns are found mainly among the ruminant artiodactyls, in the families Antilocapridae and Bovidae...

. The front horn is larger than the other horn and averages 90 cm (35.4 in) in length and can reach 150 cm (59.1 in). The White Rhinoceros also has a prominent muscular hump that supports its relatively large head. The colour of this animal can range from yellowish brown to slate grey. Most of its body hair is found on the ear fringes and tail bristles with the rest distributed rather sparsely over the rest of the body. White Rhinos have the distinctive flat broad mouth which is used for grazing.

Black Rhinoceros

The name Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) was chosen to distinguish this species from the White Rhinoceros
White Rhinoceros
The White Rhinoceros or Square-lipped rhinoceros is one of the five species of rhinoceros that still exist. It has a wide mouth used for grazing and is the most social of all rhino species...

 (Ceratotherium simum). This can be confusing, as those two species are not really distinguishable by colour. There are four subspecies of black rhino: South-central (Diceros bicornis minor), the most numerous, which once ranged from central Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

 south through Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

 and Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

 to northern and eastern South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

; South-western (Diceros bicornis bicornis) which are better adapted to the arid and semi-arid savannas of Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

, southern Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

, western Botswana
Botswana
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana , is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966...

 and western South Africa; East African (Diceros bicornis michaeli), primarily in Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

; and West African (Diceros bicornis longipes) which was declared extinct in November 2011. The native Tswanan name Keitloa is used to describe a South African variation of the black rhino in which the posterior horn is equal to or longer than the anterior horn.

An adult Black Rhinoceros stands 150 – high at the shoulder and is 3.5–3.9 m (11.5–12.8 ft) in length. An adult weighs from 850 to 1600 kg (1,873.9 to 3,527.4 lb), exceptionally to 1800 kg (3,968.3 lb), with the females being smaller than the males. Two horns
Horn (anatomy)
A horn is a pointed projection of the skin on the head of various animals, consisting of a covering of horn surrounding a core of living bone. True horns are found mainly among the ruminant artiodactyls, in the families Antilocapridae and Bovidae...

 on the skull are made of keratin
Keratin
Keratin refers to a family of fibrous structural proteins. Keratin is the key of structural material making up the outer layer of human skin. It is also the key structural component of hair and nails...

 with the larger front horn typically 50 cm long, exceptionally up to 140 cm. Sometimes, a third smaller horn may develop. The Black Rhino is much smaller than the White Rhino, and has a pointed mouth, which they use to grasp leaves and twigs when feeding.

During the latter half of the 20th century their numbers were severely reduced from an estimated 70,000 in the late 1960s to only 2,410 in 1995.

Indian Rhinoceros

The Indian Rhinoceros or the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) is now found almost exclusively in Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 and North-Eastern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The rhino once inhabited many areas of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 to Burma and may have even roamed in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. But because of human influence their range has shrunk and now they only exist in several protected areas of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 (in Assam
Assam
Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

, West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

, Gujarat and a few pairs in Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

) and Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, plus a few pairs in Lal Suhanra National Park
Lal Suhanra National Park
Lal Sohanra is a national park of Pakistan situated in Bahawalpur district. Like the Changa Manga forest, it is one of several forests planted by the British to provide raw materials for railroad construction during their occupation of the Indian subcontinent...

 in Pakistan. It is confined to the tall grasslands and forests in the foothills of the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

.

The Indian Rhinoceros has thick, silver-brown skin which creates huge folds all over its body. Its upper legs and shoulders are covered in wart
Wart
A wart is generally a small, rough growth, typically on a human’s hands or feet but often other locations, that can resemble a cauliflower or a solid blister. They are caused by a viral infection, specifically by human papillomavirus 2 and 7. There are as many as 10 varieties of warts, the most...

-like bumps, and it has very little body hair. Fully grown males are larger than females in the wild, weighing from 2500 –.The Indian rhino stands at 1.75–2.0 metres (5.75–6.5 ft). Female Indian rhinos weigh about 1,900 kg and are 3–4 metres long. The record-sized specimen of this rhino was approximately 3,800 kg. The Indian Rhino has a single horn
Horn (anatomy)
A horn is a pointed projection of the skin on the head of various animals, consisting of a covering of horn surrounding a core of living bone. True horns are found mainly among the ruminant artiodactyls, in the families Antilocapridae and Bovidae...

 that reaches a length of between 20 and 100 cm. Its size is comparable to that of the White Rhino in Africa.

Two-thirds of the world's Greater One-horned Rhinoceros
Indian Rhinoceros
The Indian Rhinoceros is also called Greater One-horned Rhinoceros and Asian One-horned Rhinoceros and belongs to the Rhinocerotidae family...

es are now confined to the Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National Park is a national park in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam, India. A World Heritage Site, the park hosts two-thirds of the world's Great One-horned Rhinoceroses. Kaziranga boasts the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world and was...

 situated in the Golaghat district
Golaghat District
Golaghat district is an administrative district in the state of Assam in India. It attained district status in 1987. The district headquarters are located at Golaghat. The district occupies an area of 3502 km² and lies 100 m above sea level. As of 2001, Golaghat district has a population of...

 of Assam
Assam
Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

, India.

Javan Rhinoceros

The Javan Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus) is one of the rarest and most endangered large mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s anywhere in the world. According to 2002 estimates, only about 60 remain, in Java (Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

) and Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

. Of all the rhino species, the least is known of the Javan Rhino. These animals prefer dense lowland rain forest, tall grass and reed beds that are plentiful with large floodplains and mud wallows. Though once widespread throughout Asia, by the 1930s the rhinoceros was nearly hunted to extinction in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Burma, Peninsular Malaysia
Peninsular Malaysia
Peninsular Malaysia , also known as West Malaysia , is the part of Malaysia which lies on the Malay Peninsula. Its area is . It shares a land border with Thailand in the north. To the south is the island of Singapore. Across the Strait of Malacca to the west lies the island of Sumatra...

, and Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

 for the supposed medical powers of its horn and blood. As of 2009, there are only 40 of them remaining in Ujung Kulon Conservation, Java, Indonesia. The last rhinoceros in Vietnam was reportedly killed in 2010.

Like the closely related larger Indian Rhinoceros
Indian Rhinoceros
The Indian Rhinoceros is also called Greater One-horned Rhinoceros and Asian One-horned Rhinoceros and belongs to the Rhinocerotidae family...

, the Javan rhinoceros has only a single horn. Its hairless, hazy gray skin falls into folds into the shoulder, back, and rump giving it an armored-like appearance. The Javan rhino's body length reaches up to 3.1 metre, including its head and a height of 1.5 – tall. Adults are variously reported to weigh between 900–1,400 kg or 1,360-2,000 kg. Male horns can reach 26 cm in length while in females they are knobs or are not present at all.

Sumatran Rhinoceros

The Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is the smallest extant rhinoceros species, as well as the one with the most fur
Fur
Fur is a synonym for hair, used more in reference to non-human animals, usually mammals; particularly those with extensives body hair coverage. The term is sometimes used to refer to the body hair of an animal as a complete coat, also known as the "pelage". Fur is also used to refer to animal...

, which allows it to survive at very high altitude
Altitude
Altitude or height is defined based on the context in which it is used . As a general definition, altitude is a distance measurement, usually in the vertical or "up" direction, between a reference datum and a point or object. The reference datum also often varies according to the context...

s in Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

 and Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

. Due to habitat loss and poaching, its numbers have declined and it is one of the world's rarest mammals. About 275 Sumatran Rhinos are believed to remain.

Typically a mature Sumatran rhino stands about 130 cm (51.2 in) high at the shoulder, a body length of 240 centimetre and weighs around 700 kg (1,543.2 lb), though the largest individuals have been known to weigh as much as 1,000 kilograms. Like the African species, it has two horns; the larger is the front (25–79 cm), with the smaller second usually less than 10 cm long. The males have much larger horns than the females. Hair can range from dense (the densest hair in young calves) to scarce. The color of these rhinos is reddish brown. The body is short and has stubby legs. They also have a prehensile lip.

Evolution

Rhinocerotoids diverged from other perissodactyls by the early Eocene
Eocene
The Eocene Epoch, lasting from about 56 to 34 million years ago , is a major division of the geologic timescale and the second epoch of the Paleogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Eocene spans the time from the end of the Palaeocene Epoch to the beginning of the Oligocene Epoch. The start of the...

. Fossils of Hyrachyus eximus
Hyrachyus
Hyrachyus is an extinct genus of perissodactyl mammal that lived in Eocene Europe and North America. Its remains have also been found in Jamaica. It is closely related to Lophiodon....

found in North America date to this period. This small hornless ancestor resembled a tapir
Tapir
A Tapir is a large browsing mammal, similar in shape to a pig, with a short, prehensile snout. Tapirs inhabit jungle and forest regions of South America, Central America, and Southeast Asia. There are four species of Tapirs: the Brazilian Tapir, the Malayan Tapir, Baird's Tapir and the Mountain...

 or small horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

 more than a rhino. Three families, sometimes grouped together as the superfamily
Taxonomic rank
In biological classification, rank is the level in a taxonomic hierarchy. Examples of taxonomic ranks are species, genus, family, and class. Each rank subsumes under it a number of less general categories...

 Rhinocerotoidea, evolved in the late Eocene: Hyracodontidae
Hyracodontidae
Hyracodontidae is an extinct family of rhinoceroses endemic to North America, Europe, and Asia during the Eocene through early Miocene living from 55.8—20 mya, existing for approximately .They are typified as having long limbs and having no horns...

, Amynodontidae
Amynodontidae
The Amynodonts were a group of hippo-like perissodactyls, related to true rhinoceri, that were descended from the Hyracodontidae. They ranged from North America, Europe and Asia during the Late Eocene to Miocene living from 46.2 Ma—7 Ma years ago and existed for approximately .The last species died...

 and Rhinocerotidae.

Hyracodontidae, also known as "running rhinos", showed adaptations for speed, and would have looked more like horses than modern rhinos. The smallest hyracodontids were dog-sized; the largest was Indricotherium, believed to be one of the largest land mammals that ever existed. The hornless Indricotherium was almost seven metres high, ten metres long, and weighed as much as 15 tons. Like a giraffe, it ate leaves from trees. The Hyracodontids spread across Eurasia from the mid-Eocene to early Miocene.

The family Amynodontidae, also known as "aquatic rhinos", dispersed across North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

, from the late Eocene
Eocene
The Eocene Epoch, lasting from about 56 to 34 million years ago , is a major division of the geologic timescale and the second epoch of the Paleogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Eocene spans the time from the end of the Palaeocene Epoch to the beginning of the Oligocene Epoch. The start of the...

 to early Oligocene
Oligocene
The Oligocene is a geologic epoch of the Paleogene Period and extends from about 34 million to 23 million years before the present . As with other older geologic periods, the rock beds that define the period are well identified but the exact dates of the start and end of the period are slightly...

. The amynodontids were hippopotamus
Hippopotamus
The hippopotamus , or hippo, from the ancient Greek for "river horse" , is a large, mostly herbivorous mammal in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae After the elephant and rhinoceros, the hippopotamus is the third largest land mammal and the heaviest...

-like in their ecology and appearance, inhabiting rivers and lakes, and sharing many of the same adaptations to aquatic life as hippos.

The family of all the modern rhinoceros, the Rhinocerotidae, first appeared in the Late Eocene in Eurasia. The earliest members of Rhinocerotidae were small and numerous; at least 26 genera lived in Eurasia and North America until a wave of extinctions in the middle Oligocene wiped out most of the smaller species. Several independent lineages survived, however. Menoceras
Menoceras
Menoceras is a genus of extinct, small rhinoceros endemic to most of southern North America and ranged as far south as Panama during the early Miocene epoch. It lived from around 30.7—19.7 Ma, existing for approximately .-Behaviour:...

, a pig-sized rhinoceros which had two horns side-by-side or the Teleoceras
Teleoceras
Teleoceras is an extinct genus of grazing rhinoceros that lived in North America during the Miocene epoch, which ended about 5.3 million years ago, all the way to the early Pliocene epoch....

 of North America which had short legs and a barrel chest and lived until about 5 million years ago. The last rhinos in the Americas became extinct during the Pliocene
Pliocene
The Pliocene Epoch is the period in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.332 million to 2.588 million years before present. It is the second and youngest epoch of the Neogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Pliocene follows the Miocene Epoch and is followed by the Pleistocene Epoch...

.

Modern rhinos are believed to have dispersed from Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 beginning in the Miocene
Miocene
The Miocene is a geological epoch of the Neogene Period and extends from about . The Miocene was named by Sir Charles Lyell. Its name comes from the Greek words and and means "less recent" because it has 18% fewer modern sea invertebrates than the Pliocene. The Miocene follows the Oligocene...

. Two species survived the most recent period of glaciation and inhabited Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 as recently as 10,000 years ago. The woolly rhinoceros
Woolly Rhinoceros
The woolly rhinoceros is an extinct species of rhinoceros that was common throughout Europe and Asia during the Pleistocene epoch and survived the last glacial period. The genus name Coelodonta means "cavity tooth"...

 appeared in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 around 1 million years ago and first arrived in Europe around 600,000 years ago and again 200,000 years ago, where alongside the woolly mammoth
Woolly mammoth
The woolly mammoth , also called the tundra mammoth, is a species of mammoth. This animal is known from bones and frozen carcasses from northern North America and northern Eurasia with the best preserved carcasses in Siberia...

, they became numerous but eventually were hunted to extinction by early humans. Another species of enormous rhino, Elasmotherium
Elasmotherium
Elasmotherium is an extinct genus of giant rhinoceros endemic to Eurasia during the Late Pliocene through the Pleistocene, documented from 2.6 mya to as late as 50,000 years ago, possibly later, in the Late Pleistocene, an approximate span of slightly less than 2.6 million years. Three species...

, survived through the middle Pleistocene
Middle Pleistocene
The Middle Pleistocene, more specifically referred to as the Ionian stage, is a period of geologic time from ca. 781 to 126 thousand years ago....

. Also known as the giant rhinoceros, Elasmotherium was two meters tall, five meters long and weighed around five tons, with a single enormous horn, hypsodont teeth and long legs for running.

Of the extant rhinoceros species, the Sumatran Rhino is the most archaic, first emerging more than 15 million years ago. The Sumatran Rhino was closely related to the woolly rhinoceros, but not to the other modern species. The Indian Rhino and Javan Rhino are closely related and from a more recent lineage of Asian rhino. The ancestors of early Indian and Javan rhino diverged 2-4 million years ago.

The origin of the two living African rhinos can be traced back to the late Miocene
Miocene
The Miocene is a geological epoch of the Neogene Period and extends from about . The Miocene was named by Sir Charles Lyell. Its name comes from the Greek words and and means "less recent" because it has 18% fewer modern sea invertebrates than the Pliocene. The Miocene follows the Oligocene...

  species Ceratotherium neumayri. The lineages containing the living species diverged by the early Pliocene
Pliocene
The Pliocene Epoch is the period in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.332 million to 2.588 million years before present. It is the second and youngest epoch of the Neogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Pliocene follows the Miocene Epoch and is followed by the Pleistocene Epoch...

 , when Diceros praecox, the likely ancestor of the Black Rhinoceros
Black Rhinoceros
The Black Rhinoceros or Hook-lipped Rhinoceros , is a species of rhinoceros, native to the eastern and central areas of Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Angola...

, appears in the fossil record. The black and white rhinoceros remain so closely related that they can still mate and successfully produce offspring.

  • Family Rhinocerotidae
    • Subfamily Rhinocerotinae
      • Tribe Aceratheriini
        • Extinction
          In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

          Aceratherium
          Aceratherium
          Aceratherium was a genus of rhinoceros of the tribe Aceratheriini endemic to Africa and Asia from the Oligocene to Pliocene, living from 33.9—3.4 mya existing for approximately .-Taxonomy:...

          lived from 33.9—3.4 Ma
        • Acerorhinus
          Acerorhinus
          Acerorhinus was a genus of rhinoceros of the tribe Aceratheriini endemic to Asia from the Miocene, living from 13.6—7.0 mya existing for approximately .-Taxonomy:...

          13.6—7.0 Ma
        • Alicornops 13.7—5.33 Ma
        • Aphelops
          Aphelops
          Aphelops is an extinct genus of rhinoceros endemic to North America during the Miocene through the Pliocene, living from 20.43—5.330 mya, existing for approximately .-Taxonomy:...

          20.430—5.330 Ma
        • Chilotheridium 23.03—11.610 Ma
        • Chilotherium
          Chilotherium
          Chilotherium is an extinct genus of rhinoceros endemic to Eurasia and Asia during the Miocene through Pliocene living for 13.7—3.4 mya, existing for approximately . They are known for their large, protruding lower canine teeth.-Taxonomy:...

          13.7—3.4 Ma
        • Dromoceratherium 15.97—7.25 Ma
        • Floridaceras
          Floridaceras
          Floridaceras is an extinct genus of Rhinocerotidae of the Miocene epoch, endemic to North America, living from around ~20.6—16.3 Ma, existing for approximately .-Taxonomy:...

          20.43—16.3 Ma
        • Hoploaceratherium 16.9—16.0 Ma
        • Mesaceratherium
        • Peraceras
          Peraceras
          Peraceras is an extinct genus of rhinoceros endemic to North America during the Miocene, living from 20.6—10.3 mya and existing for approximately .-Taxonomy:Peraceras was named by Cope . Its type is Peraceras superciliosum...

          20.6—10.3 Ma
        • Plesiaceratherium 20.0—11.6 Ma
        • Proaceratherium 16.9—16.0 Ma
        • Sinorhinus
        • Subchilotherium
      • Tribe Teleoceratini
        • Aprotodon 28.4—5.330 Ma
        • Brachydiceratherium
        • Brachypodella
        • Brachypotherium 20.0—5.33 Ma
        • Diaceratherium 28.4—16.0 Ma
        • Prosantorhinus
          Prosantorhinus
          Prosantorhinus is an extinct genus of rhinoceros from the lower and middle Miocene. The small teleoceratine rhinocerotid was found in western Europe and Asia. This group of creatures was a bit Hippopotamus like in form....

          16.9—7.25 Ma
        • Shennongtherium
          Shennongtherium
          Shennongtherium is an extinct genus of rhinoceros from the Miocene time period. It once roamed in what is now China....

        • Teleoceras
          Teleoceras
          Teleoceras is an extinct genus of grazing rhinoceros that lived in North America during the Miocene epoch, which ended about 5.3 million years ago, all the way to the early Pliocene epoch....

          16.9—4.9 Ma
      • Tribe Rhinocerotini 40.4—11.1 Ma
        • Gaindatherium 11.61—11.1 Ma
        • Rhinoceros
          Rhinoceros (genus)
          The members of the genus Rhinoceros are the one-horned rhinoceroses. The word "rhinoceros" is of Greek origin; "rhino" meaning "nose", and "ceros" meaning "horn". The genus contains two species, the Indian Rhinoceros and the Javan Rhinoceros...

          - Indian
          Indian Rhinoceros
          The Indian Rhinoceros is also called Greater One-horned Rhinoceros and Asian One-horned Rhinoceros and belongs to the Rhinocerotidae family...

           & Javan Rhinoceros
          Javan Rhinoceros
          The Javan Rhinoceros or Lesser One-horned Rhinoceros is a member of the family Rhinocerotidae and one of five extant rhinoceroses...

      • Tribe Dicerorhinini
        • Coelodonta
          Woolly Rhinoceros
          The woolly rhinoceros is an extinct species of rhinoceros that was common throughout Europe and Asia during the Pleistocene epoch and survived the last glacial period. The genus name Coelodonta means "cavity tooth"...

          - Woolly Rhinoceros
          Woolly Rhinoceros
          The woolly rhinoceros is an extinct species of rhinoceros that was common throughout Europe and Asia during the Pleistocene epoch and survived the last glacial period. The genus name Coelodonta means "cavity tooth"...

        • Dicerorhinus - Sumatran Rhinoceros
          Sumatran Rhinoceros
          The Sumatran Rhinoceros is a member of the family Rhinocerotidae and one of five extant rhinoceroses. It is the only extant species of the genus Dicerorhinus. It is the smallest rhinoceros, although is still a large mammal. This rhino stands high at the shoulder, with a head-and-body length of ...

        • Dihoplus 11.610—1.810 Ma
        • Lartetotherium 15.97—8.7 Ma
        • Stephanorhinus 9.7—0.126 Ma - Merck´s Rhinoceros
          Merck´s Rhinoceros
          Stephanorhinus is an extinct genus of rhinoceros native to northern Eurasia that lived during the middle and early late Pleistocene epoch. It had two horns and was a relatively large rhino.-Species and distribution:...

           & Narrow-nosed Rhinoceros
      • Tribe Dicerotini 23.03—Present
        • Ceratotherium - White Rhinoceros
          White Rhinoceros
          The White Rhinoceros or Square-lipped rhinoceros is one of the five species of rhinoceros that still exist. It has a wide mouth used for grazing and is the most social of all rhino species...

           7.250—Present
        • Diceros - Black Rhinoceros
          Black Rhinoceros
          The Black Rhinoceros or Hook-lipped Rhinoceros , is a species of rhinoceros, native to the eastern and central areas of Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Angola...

           23.03—Present
        • Paradiceros 15.97—11.61 Ma
    • Subfamily Elasmotheriinae
      • Gulfoceras
        Gulfoceras
        Gulfoceras was a genus of rhinoceros endemic to North America from the Miocene, living from 23.03—20.4 mya existing for approximately .-Taxonomy:...

        23.030—20.430 Ma
      • Tribe Diceratheriini
        • Diceratherium
          Diceratherium
          Diceratherium is an extinct genus of rhinoceros endemic to North America, Europe, and Asia during the Oligocene through Miocene living from 33.9—11.6 mya, existing for approximately .-Taxonomy:...

          33.9—11.610 Ma
        • Subhyracodon
          Subhyracodon
          Subhyracodon is an extinct genus of cow-sized rhinoceroses. It was a medium sized herbivore on the plains of early Oligocene South Dakota 33 million years ago , smaller than only the Brontops and the chalicotheres. Subhyracodon had no horns, relying more on its speed to escape, but a species found...

          38.0—26.3 Ma
      • Tribe Elasmotheriini 20.0—0.126 Ma
        • Bugtirhinus
          Bugtirhinus
          Bugtirhinus was a genus of rhinoceros of the tribe Elasmotheriini endemic to Asia during the Miocene living from 20—16.9 mya existing for approximately .-Taxonomy:...

          20.0—16.9 Ma
        • Caementodon
        • Elasmotherium
          Elasmotherium
          Elasmotherium is an extinct genus of giant rhinoceros endemic to Eurasia during the Late Pliocene through the Pleistocene, documented from 2.6 mya to as late as 50,000 years ago, possibly later, in the Late Pleistocene, an approximate span of slightly less than 2.6 million years. Three species...

          - Giant Rhinoceros 3.6—0.126 Ma
        • Hispanotherium
          Hispanotherium
          Hispanotherium was a genus of rhinoceros of the tribe Elasmotheriini endemic to Europe and Asia during the Miocene living from 16—7.25 mya existing for approximately .-Taxonomy:...

          synonymized with Huaqingtherium 16.0—7.250 Ma
        • Iranotherium
          Iranotherium
          Iranotherium was a large elasmothere rhinoceros, as big as a modern white rhino, found in Central Asia. It was a precursor of the related Sinotherium, and may have been ultimately outcompeted by its descendant....

        • Kenyatherium
        • Meninatherium
          Meninatherium
          Meninatherium is an extinct genus of the Asian rhinoceros. Meninatherium had one horn on its snout and was covered in fur. It lived during the Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs. It was a prototype of the woolly rhinoceros....

        • Menoceras
          Menoceras
          Menoceras is a genus of extinct, small rhinoceros endemic to most of southern North America and ranged as far south as Panama during the early Miocene epoch. It lived from around 30.7—19.7 Ma, existing for approximately .-Behaviour:...

          23.03—16.3 Ma
        • Ougandatherium 20.0—16.9 Ma
        • Parelasmotherium
        • Procoelodonta
        • Sinotherium
          Sinotherium
          Sinotherium was a genus of single-horned rhinoceri of the late Miocene and Pliocene. It was ancestral to Elasmotherium, and its fossils have been found in western China....

          9.0—5.3 Ma

Predators

In the wild, adult rhinoceros have few natural predators other than humans. Young rhinos can fall prey to predators such as big cats, crocodiles, wild dogs, and hyena. Although rhinos are of large size and have a reputation of being tough, they are actually very easily poached. Because it visits water holes daily, the rhinoceros is easily killed while taking a drink. As of December 2009 poaching has been on a global increase whilst efforts to protect the rhinoceros are being considered increasingly ineffective. The worst estimate, that only 3% of poachers are successfully countered, is reported of Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

. Rhino horn is wrongly considered to be particularly effective on fevers and even "life saving" by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, which in turn provides a sales market. Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 is apparently alone in avoiding the crisis while poacher-hunters grow ever more sophisticated. South African officials are calling for urgent action against rhinoceros poaching after poachers killed the last female rhinoceros in the Krugersdorp Game Reserve
Krugersdorp Game Reserve
Krugersdorp Game Reserve is a 1500 Ha Game Reserve, located near the town of Krugersdorp, approximately 40 minutes drive from central Johannesburg. It is a "small, intimate reserve that offers visitors a true African safari experience......

 near Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa...

. Statistics from South African National Parks show a record 333 rhinoceros have been killed in 2010.

Horns

Rhinoceros horns, unlike those of other horned mammals, consist of keratin
Keratin
Keratin refers to a family of fibrous structural proteins. Keratin is the key of structural material making up the outer layer of human skin. It is also the key structural component of hair and nails...

 only and lack a bony core, such as bovine horns. Rhinoceros horns are used in traditional Asian medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage , exercise , and dietary therapy...

, and for dagger handles in Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 and Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

. Esmond Bradley Martin
Esmond Bradley Martin
Esmond Bradley Martin was a conservationist who fought for the preservation of the rhinoceros and against the illegal trade of rhino horns....

 has reported on the trade for dagger handles in Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

.

One repeated misconception is that rhinoceros horn in powdered form is used as an aphrodisiac
Aphrodisiac
An aphrodisiac is a substance that increases sexual desire. The name comes from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexuality and love. Throughout history, many foods, drinks, and behaviors have had a reputation for making sex more attainable and/or pleasurable...

 in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage , exercise , and dietary therapy...

 (TCM) as Cornu Rhinoceri Asiatici (犀角). It is, in fact, prescribed for fevers and convulsions. Neither have been proven by evidence-based medicine
Evidence-based medicine
Evidence-based medicine or evidence-based practice aims to apply the best available evidence gained from the scientific method to clinical decision making. It seeks to assess the strength of evidence of the risks and benefits of treatments and diagnostic tests...

. Discussions with TCM practitioners to reduce its use have met with mixed results since some TCM doctors see rhinoceros horn as a life-saving medicine of better quality than substitutes. China has signed the CITES treaty however, and removed rhinoceros horn from the Chinese medicine pharmacopeia, administered by the Ministry of Health, in 1993. In 2011 in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine issued a formal statement condemning the use of rhinoceros horn. A growing number of TCM educators have also spoken out against the practice. To prevent poaching, in certain areas, rhinos have been tranquilized and their horns removed. Many rhino range States have stockpiles of rhino horn. Still, poaching is hitting record levels due to demands from China and Vietnam.

Historical representations

Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer was a German painter, printmaker, engraver, mathematician, and theorist from Nuremberg. His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since...

 created a famous woodcut
Woodcut
Woodcut—occasionally known as xylography—is a relief printing artistic technique in printmaking in which an image is carved into the surface of a block of wood, with the printing parts remaining level with the surface while the non-printing parts are removed, typically with gouges...

 of a rhinoceros in 1515, based on a written description and brief sketch by an unknown artist of an Indian rhinoceros that had arrived in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 earlier that year. Dürer never saw the animal itself, and as a result, Dürer's Rhinoceros
Dürer's Rhinoceros
Dürer's Rhinoceros is the name commonly given to a woodcut executed by German painter and printmaker Albrecht Dürer in 1515. The image was based on a written description and brief sketch by an unknown artist of an Indian rhinoceros that had arrived in Lisbon earlier that year. Dürer never saw the...

 is a somewhat inaccurate depiction.

There are legends about rhinoceros stamping out fire
Fire
Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. Slower oxidative processes like rusting or digestion are not included by this definition....

 in Malaysia, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, and Burma. The mythical rhinoceros has a special name in Malay
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

, badak api, where badak means rhinoceros and api means fire. The animal would come when a fire is lit in the forest and stamp it out. There are no recent confirmations of this phenomenon.
However, this legend has been reinforced by the film The Gods Must Be Crazy
The Gods Must Be Crazy
The Gods Must Be Crazy is a 1980 film, written and directed by Jamie Uys. The film is the first in The Gods Must Be Crazy series of films. Set in Botswana and South Africa, it tells the story of Xi, a Sho of the Kalahari Desert whose band has no knowledge of the world beyond...

, where an African rhinoceros is shown to be putting out two campfires.

Conservation

  • International Rhino Foundation
    International Rhino Foundation
    The International Rhino Foundation is a Yulee, Florida-based charity focused on the conservation of the five species of rhinoceros: the White Rhinoceros and Black Rhinoceros in Africa; the Indian Rhinoceros, Javan Rhinoceros and Sumatran Rhinoceros in Asia....

  • Save the Rhino
    Save the Rhino
    Save the Rhino International , a UK-based conservation charity, is Europe’s largest single-species rhino charity, in terms of funds raised and grants made, and in terms of profile and positioning. They began fundraising for in situ rhino conservation projects in 1992 and were formally registered as...


  • Nicolaas Jan van Strien
    Nicolaas Jan van Strien
    Nicolaas Jan van Strien , or just Nico van Strien, was a zoologist and conservationist of Dutch ancestry. He became notable for his conservation projects on the Sumatran Rhinoceros and the Javan Rhinoceros....


Individual Rhinoceroses

  • Abada
    Abada (rhinoceros)
    Abada was the name given to a female Indian rhinoceros kept by the Portuguese kings Sebastian I and Henry I from 1577 to 1580 and by Philip II of Spain from about 1580 to 1588...

  • Clara
  • Rhinoceros of Versailles
    Rhinoceros of Versailles
    The Rhinoceros of Versailles was a living rhinoceros which was kept in the Palace of Versailles menagerie from 1770 until 1793.-History:The live rhinoceros was a gift from M. Chevalier, French governor of Chandernagor, to Louis XV. It left Calcutta, West Bengal on 22 December 1769, and arrived six...


External links

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