The southern white rhinoceros is one of the largest and heaviest land animals on Earth. Adults weigh in at between 4,000 and 6,000 pounds and stand 5 to 6 feet tall at the shoulder. Their heads alone can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. A prominent muscular hump supports their large head, which is adorned by two horns – the front one growing up to an impressive meter and a half.
Their name derives from the Afrikaans word “weit”, which means wide, in reference to the animal’s muzzle. The wide, square upper lip is adapted to feeding on grasses – white rhinos are the only grazers among the five rhino species. Southern white rhinos were thought to be extinct in the late 19th century, until a small population was discovered in South Africa in 1895.
Their comeback to some 20,000 individuals has been hailed as a major conservation success story, but the surge in poaching for their valuable horns has seen record numbers killed in recent years. White rhinos are especially susceptible to hunting because they are relatively unaggressive and semi-social – traits that also make them one of my favorite animals to spend time with. It is up to us, as a species, to determine where the true value of the horns that grace these majestic creatures lies.
Photograph Date: 2017
Medium: Chromogenic Print
Available Sizes: 70cm, 100cm and 150cm