This majestic creature is unfortunately not the most attractive. It is an
endangered species but it is neither cute nor lovable like the panda or the
What makes this giant so odd? Well, its legs appear too short
to support its weight. The rhinoceros' skin hangs loosely over its body. It
is huge. A full grown rhino is about two meters high and about four meters
long from nose to tail. African rhinos have two horns, one much larger than
the other. It is a heavy animal weighing more than a ton. The animal has a
keen sense of smell and acute hearing but it has very weak eyesight. The
rhino cannot see until it is almost in front of its target.
Clumsy as it looks, the rhino is an agile animal. It can easily climb up
steep slopes, charge at 50 km an hour and leap up from a lying position.
The rhino's temper is also well known. It often attacks trucks, jeeps and
even moving trains. Yet it is also considered a wild African animal that is
very easy to tame. A penned rhino will even eat out of the hands of its
The black rhino is also very adaptable. It can be found over a large area
- from mountainous areas, to plains, and desert areas. The two countries
with the most rhinos are Kenya and Tanzania.
About fifty years ago, the rhinoceros was a common animal in Africa.
However, today it is becoming rare. It is being hunted to extinction for its
horn. Unfortunately, the rhino horn is considered very powerful medicine,
especially for men. The horn can fetch several thousand dollars in Asia. The
lure of money means the animal is hunted even though it is a protected
species. The Sumatran rhino is almost extinct and if we are not careful, the
African rhino will soon follow suit.