September 22 is World Rhino Day, an observance first introduced by WWF-South Africa in 2010. Today zoos, wildlife conservationists, businesses and concerned individuals honor both rhinos and efforts to protect all five rhino species: black, white, greater one horned, Sumatran and Javan.
Of the five species of rhino, only the black and white rhinos are found in Africa. Ranging from 1 to 2 tons in weight, and capable of galloping up to 30 mph, adult rhinos have no predators except for humans. Sadly, that one predator has been more than enough to decimate their numbers which, in the black rhino’s case, are down 97.6 percent since 1960. Of all of Africa’s endangered species, the black rhino is unique because almost 100% of its decline can be attributed not to habitat loss or human-wildlife conflict but to outright poaching.
The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) reports that a resurgence in poaching has left the black rhino more vulnerable than ever before. Rhino horn has been prized in many Asian countries where it is purported to cure cancer and other diseases, and although it is illegal—and any medicinal value has been disproven—the demand for rhino horn only continues to grow. Made of keratin, the same material that makes up our hair and nails, the rhino horn is about as effective at curing cancer as nail-biting.
Mala Mala, Greater Kruger National Park, South Africa
Each region presents unique challenges to conservationists, which is why our friends at AWF are hard at work with 5 rhino conservation projects in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. Learn more at http://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/rhinoceros
Solio Lodge, Laikipi Plateau, Kenya
Interested in encountering rhinos? You can either start by visiting our African safari destinations and choosing either “white rhino” or “black rhino” or both in the Wildlife filter, and explore over 36 destinations home to Africa’s rhinos.
Or, consider our Desert and Cheetah Safari, a 12 day safari with 2 nights at Namibia’s Desert Rhino Camp, where you’ll take game drives in search of free-roaming black rhinos, and meet Save the Rhino Trust conservationists.