Thursday, May 28, 2009

Can you ride a Rhino?

Whether or not you can ride a rhino, I am not certain but I do know the following about the White Rhino:

1. There are two sub-species of White Rhinoceros in Africa:
Southern White Rhinoceros (C. s. simum) Near threatened.
Northern White Rhinoceros (C. s. cottoni) Critically endangered.

2. Just 300 years ago Southern White Rhinoceros occurred across large areas of Southern Africa. They are now restricted to just eight countries: Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

3. The Southern White Rhinoceros was thought to have become extinct in the late 19th century due to intense hunting, until a small herd was found in South Africa in 1897.

4. A survey conducted by the IUCN in 2004 found there are approximately 11000 to 12000 Southern White Rhinoceros and their populations are steadily increasing.

5. The white rhino takes its name from its "wide" muzzle (weit in Afrikaans).

6. Colouration of white rhinoceros and the black rhinoceros does not actually vary much.

7. The white rhino is exclusively a herbivore and grazes on mostly the short grasses of the savannah.

8. White Rhinoceros charge at speeds of up to 45 km/h, but can only maintain this speed for a short distance.

9. Rhinoceros are very short sighted but compensating for this lack of sight, the rhino has keen hearing and one of nature's strongest senses of smell. A rhino’s olfactory passages are larger than its brain. They can detect scent more than several kilometres away, an ability superior to bloodhounds.

10. They are particularly alert on windy days perhaps because they are not sure exactly where the sounds and smells are coming from.

But can you ride a rhino? Click here to find out from the interview with Brooke Squires.

For more information about the rhinos at Zoos Victoria, please visit

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