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Why is the white rhinoceros endangered?

An endangered animal

The white rhinoceros is an endangered animal. This mammal living on the African continent has even been classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Currently, there are approximately 20,000 white rhinos in the wild, spread across Africa. Thanks to international and national laws, the preservation of the species is assured. Despite everything, the white rhinoceros remains endangered. Being the largest terrestrial mammal, the white rhinoceros has no real predator, except: Man. Indeed, this one is responsible for the destruction of the habitat, by deforestation, of the white rhinoceros. But that's not all. Poaching of this animal is widespread.

White rhino victim of poaching

Thus, the first cause which explains that the white rhinoceros is endangered is poaching. This practice is explained by the existence of an international trade for the horn of the animal. Indeed, in Asia, the horn of the white rhinoceros is sold by poachers to be then used in traditional medicine. Although the horn has been shown to have no real healing properties, it is still used by this sector. It is in China, Taiwan and South Korea that this practice is most widespread on the continent. And right now, this market is not about to end. For good reason, the Chinese and Vietnamese authorities are themselves involved in this traffic. In fact, nothing can stop poaching in these regions. It is therefore constantly increasing...

The other international market where poachers sell white rhino horns is in the Middle East. In Yemen and Oman, in particular, men use the horn of the animal as a material. Thus, according to their culture, it is used for the manufacture of the handle of ceremonial daggers also called jambiyas. Even if this practice does not diminish, a glimmer of hope seems to appear in these countries. Indeed, more and more, the inhabitants of the region buy horns from domesticated and non-wild animals. This makes it possible to reduce poaching a little even if it is still insufficient to prevent the white rhinoceros from being endangered.

The natural habitat of the white rhino in destruction

The second reason why the rhinoceros is endangered is the destruction of its habitat by humans. In Africa, urbanization is constantly expanding. The population, more and more numerous and eager for comfort, settles in partial until then uninhabited by Man. However, other species live there including the white rhinoceros. The latter has seen its environment considerably reduced by the construction of dwellings, roads and crops. The animal was forced to leave the premises, for quieter places. But nothing assures him of finding a similar habitat that can meet his food needs in particular.


Between conservation and protection

Despite everything, thanks to the efforts of scientists, several white rhinos are kept in protected areas such as national parks, forest reserves, sanctuaries... Also, the numerous protective measures put in place by international and local authorities have ensured the reintroduction of the species in several African countries. In addition, hunting and sales have been regulated throughout the territory according to strict quotas, which has allowed the white rhinoceros to slow down its extinction. The white rhino remains, however, endangered due to underpopulation and poaching suffered by the species.