Rhino Conservation and Why it Matters

What do you know about rhino conservation? Why should you pay attention?


In China and Vietnam, a demand for rhino-based products is increasing at an alarming rate. Rhinoceroses can live up to fifty years in their natural habitat, but poaching is preventing them from living their life to a full extent. According to the Encyclopedia of Earth, “Poaching is the illegal hunting, killing or capturing of animals.” This illegal hunting is causing the rapid decrease of these mega-herbivores because of the equally growing want for their horns. Though no evidence of such an effect is shown, it is believed that rhinoceroses’ horns could be used to cure fevers, cancer, and other illnesses. The origin of this myth is uncertain and misleading considering that the horns are made of keratin, the same matter that makes up your hair and nails. The futile slaughter of this already scarce number of rhinoceroses is threatening them to become extinct. 

Rhinoceroses are a keystone species, and this means their existence is significant for the prevalence of other animals in the savanna such as zebras, gazelle, and antelopes. The horned creatures’ grazing in African grasslands is creating an atmosphere in which a vast selection of consumable plants can grow for the benefit of all plant-eaters in the vicinity. Poaching is only leading to a more pressing cause for rhinos, extinction.

With three out of five rhinoceroses species already listed as critically endangered, poaching is still becoming a more common occurrence. Black rhinos fall into this list with roughly 5,000 left in the world along with Sumatran rhinos with around 80 left. More concerning, however, would be the number of Javan rhinos that weighs in at about 58-68 left. Africa-based rhinoceros species, White rhinos and Black rhinos, are showing more and more signs of an increasing population. Efforts have been made to preserve Asia-based species but have fallen short.

Though White rhinos have made a steady comeback in the world, one of their subsets, the Northern white rhino, has become functionally extinct. Two females remain, but the passing of Sudan, the last known male of his kind, back on March 19, 2018, has finalized the future of his sort. The future of rhinoceroses as a whole is not lost, however. With effort and the organizations trying to save these beautiful creatures, there’s no telling what we can accomplish.


“2018 State of the Rhino.” International Rhino Foundation, 24 Sept. 2018,

www.rhinos.org/2018-state-of-the-rhino/. Accessed 9 December 2018.

“After Last Male’s Death, Is the Northern White Rhino Doomed?” National Geographic,

National Geographic Society, 20 Mar. 2018,


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Nuwer, Rachel. “Here’s What Might Happen to Local Ecosystems If All the Rhinos Disappear.”

Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 27 Feb. 2014,


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Rhinos, Helping. “5 Species of Rhino.” Helping Rhinos,

www.helpingrhinos.org/5-species-of-rhino/. Accessed 9 December 2018.

“Africa Is Home to the World’s Most Iconic Wildlife.” Africa’s Poaching Crisis – AWF,

campaign.awf.org/poaching-infographic/. Accessed 10 December 2018.

“Rhino Facts and Species.” WWF, World Wildlife Fund,

www.worldwildlife.org/pages/rhino-facts-and-species. Accessed 10 December 2018.