A rhinoceros in a shoe shop

October 6, 2007 at 8:59 am | Posted in Animal reports, Endangered, Extinction, IUCN, Rare animals, Rhinoceros, School projects, Species, Threatened | Leave a comment

… treads carefully.

Rhinoceros in shoe shop, made from recycled aluminium Coca-Cola cans

IUCN Status of three of five rhino species is Critically Threatened, the final step before Extinct in the Wild

This recycled red and white rhinoceros made of aluminium Coca-Cola cans is the epitome of a Critically Endangered (CR) animal. This is the final status step before Extinct in the Wild (EW), according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), which is the world’s main authority on the conservation status of species.*

It’s the opposite of a bull in a china shop.


Here are some facts from WWF UK Research Centre on rare species and extra details on subspecies from Wikipedia, because my kids like photos and facts!

IUCN status category for all five distinct rhino species:

In Africa:

  • Black rhinoceros (hook-lipped)- critically endangered, 2002 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species; The World Conservation Union (IUCN) announced on 7 July 2006 that one of the four subspecies, the West African Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis longipes), has been tentatively declared as extinct.
  • White rhinoceros (square-lipped) – near threatened, 2002 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

In Asia:

  • Sumatran rhinoceros (two-horned) – critically endangered, 2002 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species; Due to habitat loss and poaching, its numbers have declined and it is one of the world’s rarest mammals. The Sumatran Rhinoceros is the last surviving species in the same group as the extinct Woolly Rhinoceros.
  • Javan rhinoceros (lesser one-horned) – critically endangered, 2002 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species; There are three subspecies of the Javan rhinoceros.
  • Greater one-horned rhinoceros (Indian) – endangered, 2002 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
  • Three of the five species of rhino are critically endangered and threatened with extinction.
  • During the 1970s, half of the world’s remaining rhinos disappeared.
  • The black rhino is distinguishable from the white rhino by its prehensile upper lip.
  • Black rhino habitat ranges from desert to forests or grassland, whereas white rhinos require thick bush cover, flat terrain, water for wallowing, and short grass.
  • Most of the remaining black rhinos survive in intensively protected sanctuaries and national parks.
  • Total numbers for black rhino, which fell from 65,000 in 1970 to 2,550 in 1993 rose to 2,700 in 2002. Asian Rhinos in the Wild:2002 – A WWF Species Status Report. The latest findings show black rhino numbers have increased to just over 3,600, a rise of 500 – around 15 per cent – between 2002 and 2004, according to the African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG) of the IUCN Species Survival Commission and WWF.
  • The IUCN Rhino Specialist Group has commented that the rise in numbers is due to the intensive conservation efforts being made in several countries.

* Aside: I have enjoyed helping a class of 4th graders to do library research and to write reports on their chosen endangered animals in previous years. It is a fascinating project for parent helpers to spend time at school in the library with a bunch of nine-year-olds. However, I must admit, before the web was easily accessible to students out-of-date information from decades old school encyclopedias was abundant. I love encyclopedias, but I do not recommend old ones for anything changing rapidly 😉 The annual IUCN Red List, last updated in September 2007, is worth checking when you are doing school projects about endangered animals. You can look up any animal, or even get lists of all the species in a particular category, such as Mammals that are Critically Threatened.


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