When we talk of the white rhinoceros, what comes to your mind? Well in black and white one might think that the white rhino actually relates to the colour of its skin. Well to set the record straight, the name white rhino is actually derived from the Dutch word “wijd” that was misinterpreted for “white”. “Wijd” means wide a representation of the mouth of the rhino. Its scientific name is (Ceratotherium simum) and is also sometimes referred square-lipped rhinoceros.
The white rhino is the largest existing species of the rhino and the most social. There are two subspecies of the white rhino namely the southern white rhino and the northern white rhino. The northern species is almost extinct with three members left that are all in captivity. The southern white rhinos are estimated to amount up to 21,000 members. They are found in various nations like South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and were also introduced in Uganda. In Uganda they are confined to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and are very popular attraction for a Uganda safari holiday. The habitat is of collective effort from the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Rhino Fund Uganda an NGO and Ziwa Ranchers Limited that is committed to restoration of the creatures’ population.
White Rhinos weighs marginally higher than a hippopotamus. It has an enormous body with a large head, a short neck and broad chest. The males generally have longer heads, body length and tails than their female counterparts. The male white rhino has an average weight of 2300kg while the female goes to an average of 1700kg. White rhinos can however attain a maximum weight of 3,600 kg. Rhinos have two horns like structures on their snouts that are made of solid keratin. The front horn is larger and is known to be targeted by poachers. White rhino color varies from yellowish brown to slate grey and they have a hump on the back neck. Its ears move independently to pick up and it has hairs on the ears and tail bristles.
In the reproductive and growth aspect, the male white rhinos take about 12 years to mature and the female take 6-7 to become of age. During courtship the male stays quite afar from the female and female will act out aggressively as the male approaches. After various cut and mouse games the copulation occurs that lasts half an hour. The gestation period of a rhino takes 16–18 months after which a single calf is born. The new born calf weighs between 40 and 60 kg and suckles till when it is 2 years of age. Rhinos have a lifespan of about 40–50 years old. Due to their massive sixe and hard bodies, white rhinos are invincible and have no predators.
The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is the home of rhinos in Uganda and is located in the west of the country. Through its partnership with other partners the Rhino Ranch has seen its population grow. Late last year on a good boxing day, the sanctuary and country received the perfect gift of a new baby rhino born. The rhino was named Noelle that brings the total of rhinos at the sanctuary to 20. The ranch not only offers foot rhino trekking but also nature walks, birding and shoebill canoe safaris. The Ziwa is a top destination for tourist seeking a Uganda safari. It is a world recognized site that has put the best practices in place to boost the population numbers of the Rhinos. The Ziwa Sanctuary is a remarkable place one should have when they undertake a Uganda Safari.