What is causing the decrease of rhinoceros population?

Topics: Rhinoceros, Rhinoceroses, Endangered species Pages: 9 (1508 words) Published: May 18, 2014

What is causing the decrease of rhinoceros population?

L Suarez
Ms Secada
5th Period

What is causing the decrease of rhinoceros population?
Rhinoceros, often abbreviated as rhino, is a group of five surviving species of odd-toed ungulates in the family Rhinocerotidae. Two of these species are native to Africa and three to Southern Asia.

Rhino species size comparison: Indian Rhino, over 1.8m, White Rhino, 1.8m, Black Rhino , over 1.5m, Javan Rhino, 1.5m and Sumatran Rhino, 1.4m The Rhinos belong to the few present mega-fauna that still alive today. All species can weight more than a ton, and the White Rhino considered the second largest land mammal, can weigh up to 2,700 kg. Rhinos are herbivores; there are browsers and grazers. They have a small brain, with 1 or 2 horns, and a thick skin made of collagen with armor like structure. Different from other mammals, African Rhino species don’t have front teeth and use their lips to tear off grass or leaves while their molar teeth grind food.

Leonardo Suarez

There are five species of rhinos: the White and the Black rhino from Africa, the Sumatran, the Javan and the Indian rhino from Southern Asia. Three of these five rhino species are classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Critically Endangered — the Black Rhino, the Javan Rhino and the Sumatran Rhino, which means they are in the highest risk of extinction. The Indian or Greater One-Horned Rhino is classified as vulnerable, which means that are close to become endangered unless the situation threatening survival and reproduction improve and the White Rhino, near threatened that means they may be considered threatened with extinction in the near future. Critically endangered is the highest IUCN wild animal risk category and is connected to species facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. The term threatened species includes the three categories, critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable, and are also referred to as Red-Listed as they are found in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The rhino is a notable example of an animal that is disappearing faster than its habitat. Losing their habitat is a major problem but poaching for their horn is the most serious threat to all five species. Rhino horn is made of keratin, the same material as in hair; and its prized in Asia for its purported medicinal value. The horn is also used for dagger handles in some Arabic countries like Yemen and Oman. These has made rhino horn is very valuable and poaching (hunting illegally) has caused rhino numbers to decline quickly. Man has hunted the rhino for thousands of years for sport, body parts and meat,


but modern trade in horn has the most destructive effect on the population, all this has caused most species to be on the edge of extinction.

Graph 1, data published by South African Department of Environmental Affairs (2013) Rhino habitat began disappearing quickly because of the fast-growing human population and the large change of the use of land for agriculture. Hunting for sport and horn reached unsustainable levels. At the beginning of the 20th century there were 500,000 rhinos across Africa and Asia. This fell to 70,000 by 1970 and just 29,000 in the wild today. In the Middle East – Yemen and Oman in particular – rhino horn is carved to make handles for jambiyas, a curved dagger. Men wear jambiyas as a symbol of their wealth and social status. The demand for rhino horn jambiyas increased dramatically in the 1970s when the oil-based economies of the Middle East boomed. The price of the


horn rose 1900 percent with catastrophic effect on African rhinoceros population. The prices kept increasing and by the mid 1990s Asian rhino horn priced at $60,000 per kilo in the black market. Large-scale poaching of the now critically endangered black rhino resulted in a...

Cited: "File:Rhinosizes It.svg." - Wikimedia Commons. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2013.
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“rhinoceros.” Compton 's by Britannica. Britannica Online for Kids. Encyclopædia
Britannica, Inc., 2013
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