A Brief History
On May 1, 2018, we celebrate another Save the Rhino Day by telling you a little about the “Holiday” and a little about Rhinoceroses. (If people asked me, can you speak rhinoceros, I’d say, “Of courserous, can’t you?” from the song, “If I Could Talk to the Animals” an Academy Award winning tune from the 1967 movie, Dr. Dolittle, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse.)
Of the 5 species of Rhinoceros alive today, 3 are listed as critically endangered. The Northern sub-species of the White Rhino of Africa may already be extinct in the wild, with perhaps 4 wild animals left and another 5 in zoos. The black Rhino of Africa has only around 4800 animals in the wild, which is double what it was in 1995, though there were around 70,000 of the 2 ton beasts as late as 1960. Unfortunately, at least 1 of the subspecies (west African) of Black Rhino was declared extinct in 2011. The giant Indian Rhino (up to 7100 lbs) is also greatly reduced and limited to certain park preserves, while the Java and Sumatran Rhinos are critically endangered, with only perhaps 60 Java Rhinos and as few as 80 Sumatran Rhinos. Rhinos once found in various Asian countries such as Viet Nam, Burma, Nepal, China, Bangladesh and Malaysia are no longer alive in the wild. Persistent stupid myths about ground Rhino horn being a cure for erectile dysfunction has resulted in the slaughter of these great animals. The Woolly Rhinoceros, about the size of the White Rhino, was probably hunted to extinction by ancient Humans and went extinct about 8000 BC.
So how to celebrate Save the Rhino Day? One way would be to join or donate to an animal preservation society such as The World Wildlife Fund or Save the Rhino International (savetherhino.org). You could visit your local zoo if they are lucky enough to have a Rhino for you to admire, and perhaps even become a member of that zoo to further animal preservation and research. You could decorate your house or workplace with Rhino pictures or posters, or even dress up in a Rhino costume and carry a “Save the Rhino” sign. (Leave that for the hard corps folks!) Write to your Senator and Congressman to let them know you support all efforts to save these mighty beasts and you want them to support those conservation efforts as well. By going on an African photo safari, you could help maintain the economic pressure on African countries to maintain their Rhino populations as an economically advantageous tourist draw.
This author proudly admits that the Rhinoceros is his favorite large animal in the world. How about you? Do you admire the mighty Rhino? If you have any good Rhino stories (such as the Dachshund chasing a Rhino on an internet photo as seen at https://the-dachshund-escapades.blogspot.com/2015/01/doxie-chasing-rhino-no-fear.html) please share them with us. Tell us what you did to celebrate Save the Rhino Day.
(By the way, sorry, but no origin story for Save the Rhino Day. It seems the first mention of such a day came about in 2016.)
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For more information, please see…
Martin, M. Rhinos: Horned Beast of the African Grasslands (The Great Book of Animal Knowledge) (Volume 2). CreateSpace, 2014.
Sartori, B. Rhinos: Amazing Pictures and Facts About Rhinos. CreateSpace, 2014.