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Jacob Davies Spring Research Paper
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The Black Rhinoceros
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Introduction

For my research paper I have chosen the mighty, titanic, and exhilarating Black Rhinoceros. The Black Rhino, besides the elephant, is one of the largest animals that walk on the face of the Earth, yet they are one of the most endangered and rad species. This species name "Rhinoceros" actually comes from a Greek origin which means "nose horn". The true scientific name of the black rhino is Diceros bicornis. The mighty strong Black Rhino can commonly be found throughout the countries of Africa. This great animal is a site to see as they can shake the ground from under you.

Findings

There are a numerous amount of Rhinos throughout the continent of Africa, which included five species and eleven sub species of rhinos. The Black Rhino is one of the species of rhinos along with its close cousin the White Rhino. The word "rhino" or "rhinoceros" comes from a pair of Greek and Latin words which mean "two" and "horn" referring to the rhino’s two front horns. The Black Rhino comes from the Animalia kingdom, the Chordata phylum, the Mammalia class, the Perissodactyla order, the Rhinocerotidae family, the Diceros genus, and finally the Diceros bicornis species. This great animal originated from an ancient dead species of rhino from thousands of years ago named the Baluchitherium grangeri. This extinct species of rhino lived in what is today Mongolia that was 18 feet tall, 27 feet long, and weighed over 25 tons, which is over four times as much as an African bull elephant today (Sloan 2006, 2).


This species of rhino is most commonly located in several countries in the southeast region of the continent of Africa. The native countries of the black rhino are as stated in: Angola, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, United Republic of, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Chad, Rwanda, Botswana, Malawi, Swaziland, and Zambia (Emslie 2011, 4). There are several sub species of this animal found in the western and southern countries of Tanzania through Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique to the northern and north western and north eastern parts of South Africa. Another sub species can be found throughout the southern Democratic Republic of the Congo, northern Angola, eastern Botswana, Malawi, and Swaziland. The Black Rhino's most abundant population can be found in South Africa and Zimbabwe, with a smaller population found in southern Tanzania. One of the sub species of the Black Rhino in Angola and Cameroon is now considered to be extinct in these African countries; however some of these sub species have been introduced again into Botswana, Malawi, Swaziland, and Zambia (Emslie 2011, 3). 


The Black Rhinoceros is a very distinctive animal among the savanna wilderness. They usually weigh around 1,750 lbs to about 3,000 lbs when on their natural diet. Besides the large elephants among the savannas the Black Rhinos are the mightiest and largest mammals in their habitat.  Within the proximity of their size they are relatively within the range of four and a half feet to five and a half feet tall, and 10 feet to 12 and a half feet long (Cline 2005,
 2). Black rhinos have two horns on their head, with the farthest one from their eyes more "prominent" than the other. While the female Black Rhinos use their horns to fight and protect their offspring, the males use their horns to fight over mating rights, territory, and leadership (Cobb 2011, 5). Their horn lengths are also extremely impressive, with a anterior horn length of 3 feet on average and a posterior horn length ranging from 1 to 22 inches long. This rhino usually lives to about 30 to 40 years old in the wild without predator deaths and around 35 years old in captivity. The oldest recorded Black Rhino that ever lived was 44 years old and 9 months in captivity (Cline 2005, 2). Even though the female rhinoceros find their sexual maturity at 4 to 5 years of age, they do not mate and have their first offspring till 6 and a half to 7 years of age. Males, ironically, have to wait until they are 10 to 12 years of age before they can fight for territorial rights and mates (Lister 2010, 3).

The main features or a characteristic of Black Rhinos that stands them out is their skin color and upper lip shape. Their thick rough skin color is actually not black as many people would look for, but is actually a grayish color like the other species of rhinos that are still left on the earth. The Black Rhino gets its name "Black Rhinoceros" from its main characteristic its stiff upper lip. This rhino's upper lip shape is unlike any other species of rhino because they have a distinguishing  profound pointed upper lip ,"hence the alternative name of hook-lipped rhino" which this species uses to specifically eat meals such as its diet of trees and bushes (Lister 2010,
 1).  This important trait distinguishes the Black Rhino's pointed upper lip from the White Rhino's squared upper lip which effects both of these rhinos' diets. While the Black Rhino uses its pointed upper lip to devour bushes, trees, and fruits; the White Rhino uses its squared upper lip to graze on grasses since this rhinos gigantic head and lip are close to the ground (Cobb 2011, 1). 


It had been discovered that usually the rad Black Rhinoceros uses its pointed upper lip to eat leaves off of trees and feed at night, as they also devour with their legit mouths over 200 different species of plants. They eat very little grass, unlike the white rhino. Rhinos, during the dry season, are forced to travel over large distances by any means to discover food to eat so they may survive which makes them more vulnerable not just to predators but poachers also. Rhinos need extremely large amounts of water daily to support their massive bodies. They prefer to stay with in areas where they are great amounts of water, but if needed, they can survive up to a surprisingly four or five days without any water (Brown 2010, 5).


The Black Rhino's behavior is a key factor to its survival. They have a reputation for being awesomely aggressive and are considered highly dangerous. Rhinos are the number one species that has the most amounts of deaths due to the cause of fighting among themselves. There is a great percentage of deaths for rhinos from dying of fighting wounds. Even though Black Rhinos are very large and heavy, they must be taken with all seriousness as they reach charging speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Black Rhinos have a common show of sounds that they use which mostly consist of puffing and snorting. Rhinos have a variety of different sounds by which consist of loud puffing, high pitched squeals, grunting, groaning, and mewing sounds so by which mother rhinos may stay on contact with their offspring
. Especially the males have an anger sound when they are in a fight as they charge their opponent or intruder. The main reason for fighting among the male Black Rhinos is due to territorial intrusion. The males constantly leave traces of their urine or dung to mark their territory. The males will leave dung and urine up to 2 to 4 times in one spot all day long to maintain a constant ground of territory (Brown 2010, 4).


During the young life of an enormously awesome Black Rhinos offspring, the calf will stay with its mother for up to 2 years for protection, as the calves are vulnerable to numerous predators. The mother rhinos are especially aggressive if their offspring is in distress, as they will protect it by all means necessary.  Most of the time if a calf is in trouble it will cry and other rhinos will come to protect it by surrounding it facing outwards armed with the protection of their sharp horns (Anonymous A 2005, 6).

Especially during the dry season, rhinos will commonly bath and roll around in muddy water holes. This kind behavior is known as wallowing. Since rhinos do not have any sweat glands they tend to be very hot, so they wallow, and at the same time have fun, to keep their body temperature cool.  They keep this dry mud on them so they may stay cool and keep protection from the sun throughout the day. It is in their behavior to wallow so they keep a cool body temperature and keep pestering parasites and insects, mainly flies, off of their fat bodies (Brown 2010, 3).


The black rhino is classified as one of the world’s most critically endangered species.  All international commercial trade in the Black Rhinos horns is considered illegal. The Black Rhino continues to face threats from poachers from all over the world for their valuable horn (Emslie 2011,8). There are two main uses of rhino horn today, which include the use of medicine and knives, or sharp weapon heads. Several countries throughout the continent of Africa have also made their own laws for the protection of the Black Rhino (Brown 2010, 5). Since these countries have put down some hard laws on these poachers it has only driven this illegal trade further into secretive work making the price of the Black Rhinos horn more expensive and tempting. In the past years several countries have had political wars and unrest that have had the illegal trade of black rhino horn for weapons even more popular and needed by the native people there. Because of these wars and poachers, the black rhino species and its other sub species have gone extinct in several countries throughout the continent of Africa (Anonymous A 2005, 3). Also because of these reasons, organizations all over the world, including the parks and reserves of the countries of the African continent, come and help stop this illegal poaching and trade of the black rhino horn (Bowden 2008, 7). It is highly important for the people of these African countries and people all over the world to help out and stop these poachers for this illegal trade as to save the critically endangered Black Rhino so this species may "live long and prosper" in the future (Bowden 2008, 8). 


Current research or the Black Rhino is being taken place to help for the success of the survival of the Black Rhino. Research is being done to help save this amazing rhino species from extinction of illegal poaching in the countries of Africa. There also is research being done on the study of the maturity ages of these rhinos. Because of the different ages at witch male and female rhinos mature, there are studies learning to know why and how this affects breeding for the Black Rhino (Anonymous B 2012, 3).


Back hundreds of years ago, explorers and H
omo sapiens were describing the Black Rhinoceros as unicorns and it was inferred their mystical and mysterious horns were producing magical powers. Obviously the Black rhino, even without its beauty and spectacular powers, is still a marvelous sight to see. Another great legend of this animal recalls sightings of rhinos being drawn to fires and stopping on them to put them out. Even though this interesting tale is plausible, it is not supported by evidence today. There is also a legend by the Chinese people that the horn of rhinos can be used to cure cancer, however this outburst is highly unlikely and not supported (Bowden 2008, 2). 


Conclusion

In conclusion of this Black Rhinoceros report, this animal can be said to be unique in several ways, from its name and characteristics of the pointed upper lip, its aggressive behavior and habitat, and its amazing connection to other Black Rhinos. However, the Black Rhino is one of the most critically endangered species in the world of which people must be cautious and willing to protect and help it survive from illegal poachers for the use of their horns in nonsense remedies. This is why so many populations of this rhino, if not extinct in some countries, have very few numbers to survive. Obviously this awesome animal is a spectacular view to see that holds so much power, yet is so profoundly weakened from poaching activities.


Bibliography:
1. Anonymous A 2005-"Black Rhino"
     http://www.tourbrief.com/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1882  

2. Anonymous B 2012-"Black Rhinoceros and White Rhinoceros"
      http://whozoo.org/students/obiibe/rhinos.htm  

3. Bowden 2008-"Black Rhinoceros"
     http://whozoo.org/students/obiibe/rhinos.htm  

4. Brown 2010-"Is the black rhino an aggressive and bad tempered animal?"
    http://www.africa-wildlife-detective.com/black-rhino.html  

5. Cline 2005-"Black Rhino - Diceros bicornis "
     http://www.rhinoresourcecenter.com/species/black-rhino/  

6. Cobb 2011-" Black Rhinoceros Diceros bicornis "
      http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/black-rhinoceros/  

7. Emslie 2011-" Scientific Name: Diceros bicornis "
     http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/6557/0  

8. Lister 2009-"Black rhinoceros"  http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/rhinoceros/african_rhinos/black_rhinoceros/  

9. Sloan 2006-" BLACK RHINO AN ENDANGERED SPECIES "
      http://www.bagheera.com/inthewild/van_anim_rhino.htm  
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