These mammals are easily recognised by their prehistoric features and the horns on their forehead. Rhinos are bold and have been seen to graze right next to Lions, with the Lions being equally un-fazed. Poachers are greatly responsible for the decreasing Rhino population as the horn is sought after for its supposed medicinal purposes. although Rhino horn is not made up of compressed hair as once thought but rather keratin the same material that makes our nails.
In the Kruger National Park White Rhino occur mostly in woodlands between the Sabie and Crocodile Rivers, and less around Shingwedzi and Letaba. The Black Rhino is found around thorny thickets and dense bush in southern Kruger between Skukuza and Pretoriuskop and also south of Lower Sabie near Crocodile Bridge.
What are the differences between black and white rhinos? There is no difference in colour between the two species, with the name of the White Rhino coming from the description of its mouth, wyd or wide.
The White Rhino is the third largest land mammal. Massive, stocky, and with a reputation of being not quite as aggressive as the Black Rhino. The two distinctive horns are in fact very densely packed fibers, and materially not really horns. The record horn length is 1.58 m. Bulls, weighing up to 2 000 kg, are larger than cows which weigh up to 1 800 kg. Bulls are 1.8 m at the shoulders. The grey skin is almost hairless. They have a square-shaped, wide mouth. White Rhinos have a hump on the neck. The penis points backwards and testes are located abdominally. The mouth of the White Rhino is wide opposed to the hooked mouth of the Black Rhino , given that the White Rhino is a grazer and the Black Rhino is a browser, hence the shapes of the mouths
The white rhino is the least endangered of the living rhino species with a population ranging from 19,682 – 21,077 individuals in range countries.
The white rhino, along with the roughly equal-sized Greater one-horned rhino, is the largest species of land mammal after the elephant. It has two distinct subspecies, but only populations of the Southern white rhino remain viable. The Northern white rhino is extinct in the wild due to poaching and only two females remain in captivity.
A Black Rhino bull can weigh up to 1 200 Kg and the cows are about 800 Kg. As such this species is smaller than the White Rhino. It can further be distinguished from the White (or square-lipped) Rhino by the pointed upper-lip. Other than the White Rhino, the smaller head is usually held high. The ears are trumpet-like and more rounded. The soil in which it rolls, partly determines the skin colour.
Intensive anti-poaching efforts have had encouraging results since 1996, and the population now numbering between 5,042 – 5,455 in the wild.
During the last century, the black rhino has suffered the most drastic decline in total numbers of all rhino species. Between 1970 and 1992, the population of this species decreased by 96%. In 1970, it was estimated that there were approximately 65,000 black rhinos in Africa – but, by 1993, there were only 2,300 surviving in the wild. The black rhino population is recovering and increasing very slowly, but the poaching threat remains great.