STUDY ON RHINOCEROS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     19th January 2024        

Context: A new study has highlighted the sensitivity of rhinoceros populations to rising temperatures due to climate change, which are expected to quickly increase above the animals’ acceptable maximum threshold.

Key Points of Study

  • Impact on Rhino Populations: The rising heat in southern Africa is adversely affecting both black and white rhinos, as highlighted by research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
  • Climate Change Projections: The study emphasizes that southern Africa will witness elevated temperatures and altered precipitation patterns, based on the IPCC's high greenhouse gas emissions scenario.
  • Rhino Vulnerability: Rhinos in southern Africa face challenges with the temperature increase, as they lack the ability to sweat and rely on bathing and shade for cooling.
  • Focus on National Parks: The research concentrated on five major national parks in southern Africa, namely Namibia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania, and Eswatini, which collectively host most of the rhino population.
  • Threats to Rhino Survival: The research team found that temperature changes surpass the tolerance of rhinoceros species, and alterations in precipitation patterns further threaten their survival.
  • Urgent Need for Adaptation Strategies: The study emphasizes the necessity for park managers to plan adaptations, including increased water supplies, tree cover, and monitoring for stress, to ensure the survival of rhinoceros populations as temperatures rise.


  • About: It is a member of any of the five extant species of odd-toed ungulates in the family Rhinocerotidae.
  • Habitat: Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas and shrublands, tropical moist forests, deserts and shrublands
  • IUCN Red List Status

oWhite Rhino: Near Threatened.

oBlack Rhino: Critically endangered.

oGreater One Horned: Vulnerable.

oJavan: Critically Endangered

oSumatran Rhino: Critically Endangered

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