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In recent decades rhinos have been relentlessly hunted to the point of near extinction. Since 1970 the world rhino population has declined by 90 percent, with five species remaining in the world today, all of which are endangered.

Rhinoceros in the Pilanesberg

The rhinoceros is a vegetarian and mainly eats foliage and twigs. It can weigh up to three tons and reach the age of forty. It does not have good eyesight, but its senses of hearing and especially smell are well developed. Its only enemy is man.

Rhinoceros and other animals, Pilanesberg, South Africa

Black rhinos have various habitats, but mainly areas with dense, woody vegetation. White rhinos live in savannas with water holes, mud wallows and shade trees.

When attacking, the rhino lowers its head, snorts, breaks into a gallop reaching speeds of 30 miles an hour, and gores or strikes powerful blows with its horns. Still, for all its bulk, the rhino is very agile and can quickly turn in a small space.

The rhino has a symbiotic relationship with oxpeckers, also called tick birds. In Swahili the tick bird is named "askari wa kifaru," meaning "the rhino's guard." The bird eats ticks it finds on the rhino and noisily warns of danger.


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