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Northern white rhinoceros

Latin name: Ceratotherium simum cottoni

IUCN Red List conservation status

About: Northern white rhinoceros

”Northern white rhinos are the world’s rarest large mammal. It is gratifying to see how well the rhinos have adapted to their new surroundings and a wild diet in Ol Pejeta Conservancy.”

Dr Rob Brett

FFI Africa Regional Director and member of the IUCN African Rhino Specialist group

An image relating to Northern white rhinoceros

The northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) has been the star of one of the world’s most dramatic rescues. In December 2009 the last four breeding individuals were flown from Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic to Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) was a key instigator in this last chance to save the subspecies from extinction. It hadn’t been seen in the wild for years and the last eight individuals in zoos weren’t breeding.

We’re pleased to say the rhinos have settled in well and are extremely well protected in their new home. FFI is proud to have helped save this magnificent animal.

Northern white rhino facts:

  • Size: weighing from 1,700 to 2,400 kg – the white rhino is the third largest African animal (after the elephant and hippo)
  • Just three rhinos are known to exist in the wild, at Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Three more non-breeding individuals survive in zoos
  • Former range: north-western Uganda, southern Chad, south-western Sudan, the eastern part of Central African Republic and the north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
  • Threats: poaching for its horn, used in traditional Chinese medicine
  • One rhino horn can fetch poachers US$ 1,000-2000

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Did you know?

White rhinos are not white, they are grey. The white comes from a misinterpretation of the Dutch “wijde” (wide in English), due to the width of the rhinoceros’ mouth.

Their wide mouth is an adaptation which helps them graze on grass, as opposed to the black rhino’s pointed mouth adapted for browsing on leaves, shoots and branches.

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