|Endangered Species: Rhinoceros
A Christiansburg Elementary Project
Submitted by Tyler of Christiansburg Elementary School
Christiansburg, VA, U.S.A.
Why Study This Topic?
Before I started searching about my animal, the Rhino,
I first had to know what I would want to learn about this amazing animal.
Since these animals are endangered, I would want to know why they were
endangered and approximately how many were left in the wild. I would also
want to find out how its lifestyle is like ours and how it is different.
I would also want to learn how many babies it can have at one time. I would
want to know about this animal, so I could be an expert on it and tell
other people about it if they are studying it too. Besides, just wanting
to learn about an animal is fun, because I feel like no one else knows
about the animal except for me.
What Was Already Known
Some facts about the rhino were already known to me,
but not all of them. I already knew that the rhino were hunted by poachers
for their long horns. I also knew some little birds would roost on the
heads of grazing rhinos, without the rhinos even noticing them.
The rhino is the largest mammal, except for the
elephant, and it weighs about three to four tons. The rhino also rolls
in mud to cool itself off in the hot sun. Again, the rhino can be fierce
if something comes between it and its young. Again, I also know its horn
is strong and the mother rhino will use it on its enemies at any cost.
Search for Information
Soon I started searching. I first relied on the Internet.
I went to "Yahoo" on Netsearch of my computer, but it didn't tell me much.
I then went to Netsearches "Hot Bot", and "Excite" for further information,
but none was given to me. Then I turned to books. I tried the encyclopedia
to see if they had any information on this animal. As always, they did.
It was helpful and probably gave me twice as much knowledge on the rhino
than I already knew. Finally, I went to my school library for the last
resource. The two rhino books I checked out gave me the most help to do
my report and to get it done without problems. As you know, not everything
can go that smoothly. As I said, Netsearch was not as great as I thought
it would be. The links gave me some know-how, but it just wasn't enough.
Description of Plant or Animal
The rhinos are thought to be related to the hippo
and the elephant. Its ancestors, like the Great horned rhino, lived on
this land with the dinosaurs. Its horn is made of keratin instead of the
ivory, which most people think it is made of. The White rhino's name comes
from the word meaning "wide", referring to its lips instead of its body.
The smallest, the Samaritan rhino, is only the weight of one small car.
The biggest, the White rhino, weighs about three times as much as the Samaritan.
All the rest of the family is between the two.
The bland gray of the rhino's skin is thought
to be rusty and ugly to most people, but it is caused when it rolls in
When searching, I had to find out how it lives and
where it lives. Most rhinos drink from the nearest pond. Even though they
travel, they try to drink from the same pond and water source. Rhinos are
thought to be carnivorous, because of the way they look, but they are herbivores.
Usually, all rhinos graze on grass, tree leaves, and bushes and will never
touch meat. I believe most rhinos sleep outside under trees, and never
in an abandoned cave. I also think they can sometimes sleep standing. If
someday, the rhinos are to the point of extinction and in zoos, they would
need quite a bit of space. I think one rhino would need approximately 20
yards by 20 yards, so it would still have some living space.
The rhino is an exciting animal to read about. This
gray colored animal is the biggest mammal in the world, except for the
Elephant. Even though they have terrible eyesight, they make it up with
their kneen senses of hearing and smelling.
When grazing on greens, sometimes cattle egrets
will roost on top of the rhino's head while the animal is eating.
Even though the rhino is feared, it has few
predators who try to feed on it. A lot of the time, tigers will sneak up
on one of the young and try to capture it. If the mother rhino sees this,
she will slash her horn at him. Most of their time, the baby is not harmed,
but some babies are less fortunate than others.
People thought that the rhinos horn is made of
ivory, but it is isn't. In fact, the horn is made of packed together strands
of hair called keratin.  Though the rhino is large, even the biggest
ones can charge at speeds of 35 miles an hour.
On the rhino's foot are three stubby toes. As
it walks , only two of the three toes function right. Its bland gray skin
camouflages it on stones and on some glimmering water.
Reasons for Endangerment
Most of the time, rhinos sleep under trees. Now, they
are to the point of extinction, because people are wiping out the trees
on the savannahs. The rhinos are also being killed by some members of the
cat family such as tigers and cheetahs. These cats prey on the young, rather
than the mother of father. Pollution such as toxic waste and pesticide
are on the grass, and when the rhinos eat grass, they die. The population
is declining because of humans. Now, we must make up for it and try to
help these animals live to see a brighter day.
As the rhinos are being hurt, some people are caring
for these beautiful animals. A program in South Africa has made it illegal
to hunt and kill the White rhinos. Some researchers are studying rhinos
to see how humans can increase the population of these rhinos. Now, there
are about 11,000 rhinos left in the wild. People are donating money to
help give researchers devices, and expensive mapping items to see how we
can prevent them from becoming extinct.
What Was Learned
Throughout my research, I found so many interesting
facts about the rhino. Now that I've done all my research, I feel like
a scientist who studies rhinos now. One cool thing I learned is that a
rhino's horn is not made of ivory, but of keratin like in my fingernails.
I also learned the rhino has no sweat glands, so it keeps cool by rolling
in different liquids. The rhino is a grazer who eats grass, tree leaves,
and bushes for their daily diet. It also has bad eyesight, but makes up
for it with its kneen sense of smell and sound. A weird thing is about
the rhino, is that the it doesn't carry the young on its back like most
mammels do. The horn of the rhino can be used for fighting and for digging
up food from the ground. When cooling itself off, cattle egrets roost on
top of the rhino's heads while the animal grazes. Some scientists also
think the rhino is closely related to the hippopotamous and the elephant.
Some of its ancestors lived on the earth millions of years ago.
Conclusions From Research
Now that I have learned about this extrodinary animal,
I can put it to work. I can start by donating little bits of money to fund
programs and try to get other people to help the rhino. Now that I know
about the rhino's plight, I feel a responsibility toward the it, and I
can help it if I ever come across one.
I have the confidence I can put my know-how into
play by telling groups how I feel. In the future, instead of the rhinos
being extinct, I will try my hardest to help these animals live as long
as humans do. Hopefully, others will see how I feel and donate funds to
keep this beautiful mammal from extinction.
Waxo, John Bonnet (1987). Rhinos. Creative Education,
Minnesota, pages 6-23.
Switzer, Merebeth (1989). Rhinoceros. Grolier
Education Corporation, Connecticut, pages 5-44.
New Book of Knowledge (1981). Grolier Incorporated, United
States, page 21.
here for more information on the Rhino!
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Last updated on March 12, 1998