September 22 marks World Rhino Day, an opportunity to celebrate all five species of the gentle rhinoceros. Established in 2010 by the South Africa branch of the World Wildlife Foundation, World Rhino Day aims to educate people on the alarming decline of the rhino population and encourage protection of the species.
There are five kinds of rhinoceros: black, white, Sumatran, Javan and greater one-horned rhinos. The Sumatran, Javan and black rhinos are Critically Endangered, the greater one-horned rhino is Vulnerable and the white rhino is Near Threatened.
Thanks to conservation efforts the number of black rhinos has doubled over the past two decades, and the Southern white rhino, which was once thought extinct, is now the strongest of all five species, reports WWF. Current numbers are still low when compared to the estimated 100,000 black rhinos that lived during the early 20th century, however. Dozens of rhinos continue to be killed as a result of poaching for the rhino horn. On top of this, many die from habitat loss due to deforestation. Most surviving rhinos live in national reserves and parks, with only a small number outside these protected areas.
Rhino population figures