Ilegal hunting for selling of their horns
The wide lipped rhinoceros has two horns.
Today, there are five species of rhinoceros, and each one is in danger of extinction. The Javan rhinoceros and the Sumatran rhinoceros only number roughly several dozen individuals in distinct areas in the wild. There are no Javan rhinoceros in captivity, and only roughly five Sumatran rhinoceros in captivity.
The main harm to the rhinoceros population is hunting for their horns, which are believed by some to possess medicinal virtues. This is, of course, a myth. The horns are composed of compressed fibers (like hair), and they have no medicinal value. Use of the powdered horns, therefore, is as useful as eating fingernails.
The source of the name wide-lipped rhinoceros is from its local name, Wijde, meaning wide. The name describes its wide lip, which developed in accordance with the type of food it eats (as opposed to the black rhinoceros, which has a narrow lip and eats leaves). Life expectancy of a rhinoceros in the wild is 45 years. There exist two types of males: dominant, which are the type to claim the exclusive right to mate with females on their turf, and the inferior males, which are controlled by the dominant males when it comes to their territory. Dominant males mark their territory (1 – 2 kilometers) by defecating in set spots and spreading it with their feet. The territorial males spray their urine, along with pushing around the vegetation with their horns and feet. The living area of a herd of females overlaps with the living area of up to eight males. Generally, the female mates with the male in whose territory she is located during mating season. The male identifies the female in heat by the concentration of pheromones in her urine and feces. The rhinoceros has an interesting courting ceremony: after the male identifies the female in heat, he prevents the female from leaving his territory by standing himself in front of her and making noises which simulate that of pleading noises made by a hungry baby rhinoceros. At the height of the female’s heat, the male approaches the female while making its noises. The female may sometimes continue to “refuse” the male, but simultaneously, she sprays her area with urine, and in the end, she accepts him. Length of gestation is roughly 490 days, after which is born one baby, weighing an average of 80 kilograms.
Photo: Tsouriel Fenesh