White rhinoceros

Ceratotherium simum

The white rhinoceros or square-lipped rhinoceros is the largest extant species of rhinoceros. It has a wide mouth used for grazing and is the most social of all rhino species. The white rhinoceros consists of two subspecies: the southern white rhinoceros, with an estimated 17,460 wild-living animals at the end of 2007, and the much rarer northern white rhinoceros.
Mr. Grumpy Stripes A lone rhino awaits a storm on the edge of the dry Lake Nakuru in Kenya. Africa,Ceratotherium simum,Geotagged,Kenya,Landscapes,Rhino,White rhinoceros,Wildlife,chris minihane,endangered,storm

Appearance

The white rhinoceros is generally considered the largest land mammal after the elephants; however, no measured weights exist to confirm this. Field weights estimated by park personnel are 2,000–2,300 kg for adult males and about 1,600–1,700 kg for adult females. Their bodies are massive and they have large heads, short necks and broad chests. The head and body length is 3.7 to 4 m in males and 3.4 to 3.65 m in females, with the tail adding another 70 cm and the shoulder height is 170 to 186 cm in the male and 160 to 177 cm in the female. On its snout it has two horn-like growths, one behind the other. These are made of solid keratin, in which they differ from the horns of bovids , which are keratin with a bony core, and deer antlers, which are solid bone. The front horn is larger and is usually around 60 cm in length, sometimes reaching 150 cm but only in females. The white rhinoceros also has a noticeable hump on the back of its neck. Each of the four stumpy feet has three toes. The color of the body ranges from yellowish brown to slate grey. Its only hair is the ear fringes and tail bristles. White rhinos have a distinctive broad, straight mouth which is used for grazing. Its ears can move independently to pick up sounds but it depends most of all on smell. The olfactory passages which are responsible for smell are larger than their entire brain. The white rhinoceros has the widest set nostrils of any land based animal.
White rhino, Namibia White rhino in thorn scrub, Etosha NP Namibia Ceratotherium simum,Geotagged,Namibia,White rhinoceros

Naming

A popular theory of the origins of the name "white rhinoceros" is a mistranslation from Dutch to English. The English word "white" is said to have been derived by mistranslation of the Dutch word "wijd", which means "wide" in English. The word "wide" refers to the width of the rhinoceros' mouth. So early English-speaking settlers in South Africa misinterpreted the "wijd" for "white" and the rhino with the wide mouth ended up being called the white rhino and the other one, with the narrow pointed mouth, was called the black rhinoceros. Ironically, Dutch later used a calque of the English word, and now also call it a ''white'' rhino. This suggests the origin of the word was before codification by Dutch writers. A review of Dutch and Afrikaans literature about the rhinoceros has failed to produce any evidence that the word ''wijd'' was ever used to describe the rhino outside of oral use. Other popular theories suggest the name comes from its wide appearance throughout Africa, its color due to wallowing in calcareous soil or bird droppings or because of the lighter colour of its horn.

An alternative name for the white rhinoceros, more accurate but rarely used, is the square-lipped rhinoceros. The white rhinoceros' generic name, ''Ceratotherium'', given by the zoologist John Edward Gray in 1868, is derived from the Greek terms ''keras'' "horn" and ''therion'' "beast". ''Simum'', is derived from the Greek term ''simus'' , meaning "flat nosed".
Southern white rhino calf || Lake Nakuru || Aug 2017
https://www.facebook.com/MohammedSalmanPics/ Ceratotherium simum,White rhinoceros

Distribution

The southern subspecies or majority of white rhino live in southern Africa. About 98.5% of white rhino occur in just five countries . Almost at the edge of extinction in the early 20th century, the southern subspecies has made a tremendous comeback. In 2001 it was estimated that there were 11,670 white rhinos in the wild with a further 777 in captivity worldwide, making it the most common Rhino in the world. By the end of 2007 wild-living southern white rhino had increased to an estimated 17,480 animals .

The northern white rhino formerly ranged over parts of north-western Uganda, southern Chad, south-western Sudan, the eastern part of Central African Republic, and north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo . The last surviving population of wild northern white rhinos are located in Garamba National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo but in August 2005, ground and aerial surveys conducted under the direction of African Parks Foundation and the African Rhino Specialist Group have only found four animals: a solitary adult male and a group of one adult male and two adult females. In June 2008 it was reported that the subspecies may have gone extinct in the wild.

Like the black rhino, the white rhino is under threat from habitat loss and poaching, most recently by Janjaweed. The horn is mostly used for traditional medicine although there are no health benefits from the horn; the horn is also used for traditional necklaces.
White rhinoceros - Ceratotherium simum Seen in Pairi Daiza, Sep 2016. Belgium,Ceratotherium simum,Geotagged,Summer,White rhinoceros

Status

The Northern White Rhino is critically endangered to the point that there are only five of these rhinos remaining in the world. To keep peace, several conservation tactics have been taken to prevent this species from disappearing from the earth. Perhaps the most notable type of conservation these Rhinos have received is having moved to Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy from Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic on 20 December 2009, where they have been under constant watch every day, and have been given favorable climate and diet, both of which they have adapted to well, in order to boost their chances of reproducing.

In order to save the Northern White Rhino from extinction, Ol Pejeta Conservancy announced that they would introduce a fertile Southern White Rhino from Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, in February 2014. Here they have this rhino in an enclosure with both female Northern White Rhinos in hopes to cross-breed the species. Having the male rhino with two female rhinos will increase competition for the female rhinos and in theory should result in more mating experiences. Till now Ol Pejeta Conservancy has not announced any news of the rhino mating.
White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum)  Animal,Ceratotherium,Ceratotherium simum,Ceratotherium simum simum,Mammal,Nature,New York State,Odd-toed ungulate,Perissodactyla,Rhinoceros,Rhinocerotidae,Rochester,Seneca Park Zoo,Southern White Rhino,Spring,United States of America,Vertebrate,White Rhino,White rhinoceros

Behavior

White rhinoceroses are found in grassland and savannah habitat. Herbivore grazers that eat grass, preferring the shortest grains, the white rhinoceros is one of the largest pure grazers. It drinks twice a day if water is available, but if conditions are dry it can live four or five days without water. It spends about half of the day eating, one third resting, and the rest of the day doing various other things. White rhinoceroses, like all species of rhinoceros, love wallowing in mudholes to cool down. The white Rhinoceros is thought to have changed the structure and ecology of the savanna’s grasslands. Comparatively based on studies of the African elephant, scientist believe the white Rhino is a driving factor in the ecosystem it resides. The destruction of the megaherbivore could have serious cascading effects on the ecosystem and harm other animals.

White rhinoceroses produce sounds which include a panting contact call, grunts and snorts during courtship, squeals of distress, and deep bellows or growls when threatened. Threat displays include wiping its horn on the ground and a head-low posture with ears back, combined with snarl threats and shrieking if attacked. The white rhinoceros is quick and agile and can run 50 km/h .

White rhinoceroses live in crashes or herds of up to 14 animals . Sub-adult males will congregate, often in association with an adult female. Most adult bulls are solitary. Dominant bulls mark their territory with excrement and urine. The dung is laid in well defined piles. It may have 20 to 30 of these piles to alert passing rhinoceroses that it is his territory. Another way of marking their territory is wiping their horns on bushes or the ground and scrapes with its feet before urine spraying. They do this around 10 times an hour while patrolling territory. The same ritual as urine marking except without spraying is also commonly used. The territorial male will scrape-mark every 30 m or so around its territory boundary. Subordinate males do not mark territory. The most serious fights break out over mating rights to do with a female. Female territory is overlapped extensively and they do not defend it.
rhino_1 This female was one of a group of four resting on the road, presumably getting some heat after a cool night. Ceratotherium simum,Geotagged,Swaziland,White rhinoceros

Habitat

White rhinoceroses are found in grassland and savannah habitat. Herbivore grazers that eat grass, preferring the shortest grains, the white rhinoceros is one of the largest pure grazers. It drinks twice a day if water is available, but if conditions are dry it can live four or five days without water. It spends about half of the day eating, one third resting, and the rest of the day doing various other things. White rhinoceroses, like all species of rhinoceros, love wallowing in mudholes to cool down. The white Rhinoceros is thought to have changed the structure and ecology of the savanna’s grasslands. Comparatively based on studies of the African elephant, scientist believe the white Rhino is a driving factor in the ecosystem it resides. The destruction of the megaherbivore could have serious cascading effects on the ecosystem and harm other animals.

White rhinoceroses produce sounds which include a panting contact call, grunts and snorts during courtship, squeals of distress, and deep bellows or growls when threatened. Threat displays include wiping its horn on the ground and a head-low posture with ears back, combined with snarl threats and shrieking if attacked. The white rhinoceros is quick and agile and can run 50 km/h .

White rhinoceroses live in crashes or herds of up to 14 animals . Sub-adult males will congregate, often in association with an adult female. Most adult bulls are solitary. Dominant bulls mark their territory with excrement and urine. The dung is laid in well defined piles. It may have 20 to 30 of these piles to alert passing rhinoceroses that it is his territory. Another way of marking their territory is wiping their horns on bushes or the ground and scrapes with its feet before urine spraying. They do this around 10 times an hour while patrolling territory. The same ritual as urine marking except without spraying is also commonly used. The territorial male will scrape-mark every 30 m or so around its territory boundary. Subordinate males do not mark territory. The most serious fights break out over mating rights to do with a female. Female territory is overlapped extensively and they do not defend it.
White rhinoceros - Ceratotherium simum The white rhinoceros or square-lipped rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) is the largest and most numerous species of rhinoceros that exists. It has a wide mouth used for grazing and is the most social of all rhino species. The white rhinoceros consists of two subspecies: the southern white rhinoceros, with an estimated 17,460 wild-living animals at the end of 2007 (IUCN 2008), and the much rarer northern white rhinoceros. The northern subspecies has very few remaining, with seven confirmed individuals left (including those in captivity). Ceratotherium simum,Geotagged,South Africa,White rhinoceros,ceratotherium simum,kruger national park,perissodactyla,rhinocerotidae,south africa,white rhinoceros

Reproduction

Females reach sexual maturity at 6–7 years of age while males reach sexual maturity between 10–12 years of age. Courtship is often a difficult affair. The male stays beyond the point where the female acts aggressively and will give out a call when approaching her. The male chases and or blocks the way of the female while squealing or wailing loudly if the female tries to leave his territory. When ready to mate the female curls her tail and gets into a stiff stance during the half hour copulation. Breeding pairs stay together between 5–20 days before they part their separate ways. Gestation occurs around 16–18 months. A single calf is born and usually weighs between 40 and 65 kg . Calves are unsteady for their first 2 to 3 days of life. When threatened the baby will run in front of the mother, who is very protective of her calf and will fight for it vigorously. Weaning starts at 2 months, but the calf may continue suckling for over 12 months. The birth interval for the white rhino is between 2 and 3 years. Before giving birth the mother will chase off her current calf. White rhinos can live to be up to 40–50 years old. Adult white rhinos have no natural predators due to their size, and even young rhinos are rarely attacked or preyed on due to the mother's presence and their tough skin.
Reflection Rhino profile Ceratotherium simum,Geotagged,The Netherlands,White rhinoceros

Food

Rhino poaching has been occurring for well over four centuries, as hunters have driven the Indian rhinoceros to near-extinction ever since the colonial era. Millions of years before this, however, there were species of rhinoceros that grew up to twenty feet long. These exotic creatures were believed to become extinct due to human cause, citing the enormous impact people can have on the natural world. The 19th-century concept of hunting for sport nearly eradicated the white rhino from the planet, until anti-poaching laws in India and Nepal helped the species recover to a considerable extent. “Operation Rhino,” initiated in 1961, was a program designed to save the rhino from extinction. Remaining members of the species were moved to reserves in South Africa, but in 1970 it was revealed that the rhinoceros population has decreased by about 90% since historic times.
Too Close White Rhinoceros Grazing in Grasslands  Animal,Ceratotherium simum,Geotagged,South Africa,White rhinoceros

Evolution

The white rhinoceros of today was said to be likely descended from ''Ceratotherium praecox'' which lived around 7 million years ago. Remains of this white rhino have been found at Langebaanweg near Cape Town. A review of fossil rhinos in Africa by Denis Geraads has however suggested that the species from Langebaanweg is of the genus ''Ceratotherium'', but not ''Ceratotherium praecox'' as the type specimen of ''Ceratotherium praecox'' should, in fact, be ''Diceros praecox'', as it shows closer affinities with the black rhinoceros ''Diceros bicornis''. It has been suggested that the modern white rhino has a longer skull than ''Ceratotherium praecox'' to facilitate consumption of shorter grasses which resulted from the long term trend to drier conditions in Africa. However, if ''Ceratotherium praecox'' is in fact ''Diceros praecox'', then the shorter skull could indicate a browsing species. Teeth of fossils assigned to ''Ceratotherium'' found at Makapansgat in South Africa were analysed for carbon isotopes and the researchers concluded that these animals consumed more than 30% browse in their diet, suggesting that these are not the fossils of the extant ''Ceratotherium simum'' which only eats grass. It is suggested that the real lineage of the white rhino should be; ''Ceratotherium neumayri'' → ''Ceratotherium mauritanicum'' → ''C. simum'' with the Langebaanweg rhinos being ''Ceratotherium sp.'' , with black rhinos being descended from ''C. neumayri'' via ''Diceros praecox''.

Recently, an alternative scenario has been proposed under which the earliest African ''Ceratotherium'' is considered to be ''Ceratotherium efficax'', known from the Late Pliocene of Ethiopia and the Early Pleistocene of Tanzania. This species is proposed to have been diversified into the Middle Pleistocene species ''C. mauritanicum'' in northern Africa, ''C. germanoafricanum'' in East Africa, and the extant ''C. simum''. The first two of these are extinct, however, ''C. germanoafricanum'' is very similar to ''C. simum'' and has often been considered a fossil and ancestral subspecies to the latter. The study also doubts the ancestry of ''C. neumayri'' from the Miocene of southern Europe to the African species.
It is likely that the ancestor of both the Black and the White rhinos was a mixed feeder, with the two lineages then specialising in browse and graze, respectively.

References:

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