White Rhino Threats

White rhino have few predators other than humans. Lions, hyenas and leopards will sometimes kill white rhino calves, but rarely will they take down healthy adults. There have been specific prides of lions that have learned how to take down larger species like white rhino or buffalo, but that is uncommon. 

Human encroachment is another threat to white rhino populations. As humans expand their living spaces and farming areas, natural areas such as national parks decrease in size, which lead to greater threats to security as well as larger population densities. Larger population densities mean more animals competing for the same food, water sources, and mates, which can lead to an increase in fighting. 

The most significant threat to white rhinos is poaching. Humans poach white rhino for their horns, which are used in traditional medicine or to convey status in certain parts of Asia. Because of their population size, physical size, social structure, and preference for grasslands, white rhino are often more accessible than black rhino and therefore more likely targets for poachers. In the past 12 years, rhino poaching has increased in South Africa from 7 individuals in 2000 to 668 individuals in 2012. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Content provided by Canisius College students under the direction of Michael Noonan, PhD.