Northern White Rhinoceros

Northern White Rhinoceros

The Northern Whyte Rhinoceros or Northern Square-lipped rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) is one of the two subspecies of the White Rhinoceros. This subspecies is a grazer and is an animal of grasslands and savannah woodlands. These animals may now be extinct in the wild as a recent survey failed to locate the only known surviving population of four in the Garamaba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Only 8 captive specimens are left in the world: at the San Diego wild Animal Park and in the Czech Republic.

Wild population

The White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), formerly ranged over parts of north-western Uganda, southern Chad, south-western Sudan, the eastern part of Central African Republic, and north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) . The only confirmed population today occurs in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Poachers reduced their population from 500 to 15 in the 1970s and 1980s. By the early 1990s through mid 2003 the population recovered to more than 32 animals. Surveys in 2000 indicated that the population has started recovering with 30 animals confirmed in 2000 with up to a possible six others . Since mid 2003, poaching has intensified and reduced the wild population to only 5 to 10 animals (7 actual count worldwide) but according to the WWF, there are now only four Northern White Rhinos left in the wild.

Garamba National Park

The last surviving population of wild Northern white rhinos are all located in Garamba National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Recent civil wars and disruptions have been cause for much concern about the status of this last surviving population.

In January 2005, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) approved a two-part plan for the translocation of five northern white rhino from Garamba National Park to a wildlife sanctuary in Kenya. The second part commits the Government and its international partners to increase conservation efforts in Garamba, so that the northern white rhinos can be returned when it is safe again. The translocation has not occurred yet.

In August 2005, ground and aerial surveys conducted under the direction of African Parks Foundation and the African Rhino Specialist Group (ARSG) have only found four animals. A solitary adult male and a group of one adult male and two adult females. Efforts to locate further animals continue. In June 2008 it was reported that the species may have gone extinct since none of these four known remaining individuals has been seen since 2006.

Captive population

The captive northern white rhino population consists of only 9 animals and is maintained in two zoological institutions in the U.S.A. and the Czech Republic. However only three are capable of breeding. The zoo population is declining and is not viable. Northern whites have rarely reproduced in captivity.

Dvůr Králové Zoo

The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) has some internationally coordinated breeding programmes of wild animals such as the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP). There is also a White Rhino EEP. This EEP includes only 8 individuals, of which 7 pure, of the Northern White Rhinoceros subspecies. These individuals are all located in the Dvůr Králové Zoo in Dvůr Králové nad Labem, Czech Republic.

The zoo holds one hybrid female. The mother of this female was a Northern White Rhino (C. s. cottoni), but the father was a Southern White Rhino (C. s. simum) named Arthur.

  • Nasi, female born at Dvůr Králové Zoo, Czech Republic on 11 November 1977.

San Diego Wild Animal Park

The San Diego Wild Animal Park in San Diego, California, U.S.A. has three Northern White Rhinos , all of which were wild-caught. They are females named Nola and Nadi. Their male is named Angalifu. Nola is not fertile, and Nadi is not behaviorally receptive, so this captive population is not breeding. Angalifu is the last known male Northern White Rhino left.


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