• Trisha Hakim

White Rinos

Each and every animal on Earth has as much right to be here as you and me.

White rhinos are one of the largest pure grazers who feed on grass, preferring the shortest grains, and are found in grassland and Savanna habitat.

The white rhinoceros is found to have changed the structure and ecology of Savanna’s grasslands. Scientists believe that the white rhinos are a driving factor in their ecosystem. The destruction of the megaherbivore could have significant consequences on the ecosystem and harm other animals too.

Rhino being a megaherbivore that significantly alters the habitat around it and thus affects a large number of other organisms.

By rolling in mud puddles, they help to produce natural waterholes and keep existing water holes open.

Also, each time a rhino wallows, a considerable amount of mud is removed and, as it dries off or is rubbed off, the fertile alluvial soil that accumulates in dams and natural waterholes is spread far and wide, improving the soil far from the wallow.

Rhinos play a vital role in monetizing ecosystems and allowing other less charismatic and obscure species to continue playing their ecosystem roles and help maintain a balance.

The dung fertilizes the soil and provides livelihoods for many other species.

Dung beetles take a piece of dung by rolling it away to lay their eggs in the dung ball and bury it. Some of these eggs can be a nutritious snack once the larvae are developed, and little carnivores or omnivores benefit greatly. Rhinos are host to ticks too. The ticks in turn sustain other species which eat them.

They modify vegetation by establishing and maintaining short-grass lawns. They mow the grass to a height that provides a sustainable habitat for these species. These rhino lawns also act as areas of the sanctuary during veld fires and for slow-moving tortoises and for plant species that cannot tolerate fire.

Unfortunately, after more than a century of protection and management, one of the subspecies of white rhinos, the northern white rhinos are near extinct and might extinct during this decade.

Sudan was a captive northern white rhinoceros who died in March 2018. During his death, he was one of the only three northern white rhinos living in the world.

There are no more male northern white rhinos alive and as of now, we only have two female northern white rhinos remaining and since females cannot breed, the subspecies could disappear within the decade.

With this, there arises a question, when they are gone, when every last life has been stolen, how will you remember them?

To survive today, other animals must endure global warming, pollution, and degradation of habitats. Even worse, they must survive the silence of human hearts.

This is a reminder for all of us to act before it vanishes forever!