On the 22nd of September every year, World Rhino Day is celebrated internationally. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the need to protect the five existing species of rhino on our planet. This initiation was started in 2010 by the World Wildlife Fund in South Africa and gives conservation bodies, NGO’s, businesses, and concerned members of the public the chance to raise awareness of the plight of this unique and threatened species.
All rhino species are threatened by poachers for the illegal trade in rhino horn, which is made up of keratin, a protein found in hair, fingernails, and animal hooves. Certain cultures believe this product to have medicinal properties, but in fact, there are no scientific studies to support this belief.
Some Fun Facts
- There are 5 different kinds of rhino, but in the Timbavati we only get the White and Black rhinos (though they are both grey in colour!).
- White rhinos are believed to have gotten their name from the Afrikaans word for wide (‘wyd’), referring to their wide, square lip. The black rhino on the other hand, has a pointy upper lip.
- Rhinos have bad eyesight, but they have great hearing and an amazing sense of smell.
- The largest part of a rhino’s brain is dedicated to its ability to smell because it relies on this sense so much.
- They are the 2nd largest mammal in the world, and even though they are so big and bulky, they are still able to run at super-fast speeds.
- Rhinos communicate in unusual and weird ways; they snort, sneeze, and poo to communicate different messages.
Why should we help?
Rhinos have a huge impact on the environment they live in and, therefore, are considered keystone species. Their presence plays a major role in maintaining their ecosystem. They are megaherbivores; by eating a significant amount of vegetation, they shape the environment in which they live, which adds to the well-being of the plants and animals in these areas.
By raising awareness on World Rhino Day through various different activities, participants are able to contribute to the organizations and initiatives of their choosing and can help ensure rhinos thrive for decades to come. However, even by being aware of their battle and telling others, you are helping create greater awareness and therefore making a difference to their existence.