Why are desert-adapted rhinos so unique?

Apr 11, 2014 |  Conservation & Wildlife
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Save the Rhino Trust works incredibly hard to monitor and protect the critically endangered desert-adapted black rhinos in north-western Namibia. So what makes this Namibian rhino population so remarkable?

1. They are the largest truly free-ranging population of black rhino in the world…
The rhinos of the Kunene and Erongo regions are truly wild; they are free to roam over 25,000km² of desert habitat with no enclosed fences

2. They are adapted to survive in tough desert conditions...
They are hardy rhinos who survive in temperature extremes ranging from sub-zero to above 40°C! The arid environment also means very little rainfall. Normally rhino drink every night, yet in the Kunene they may drink only ever third or fourth night

3. They have stomachs like steel...
The scenery is scattered with basalt rocks and mountain ranges with little vegetation, but these rhinos are able to digest highly toxic desert plants such as the Euphorbia damarana, a succulent plant which is deadly to humans

4. They are mainly active at night…
To avoid the intense heat, the rhinos are normally most active at night or during early morning or evening. Click here to watch fantastic night footage of a desert-adapted rhino caught on a stealth camera

5. They are endurance stars...
These rhinos cover large distances in search of food and water, and have very large home ranges, measuring 500 - 600 km². They are also mountaineering experts, navigating high mountain ledges in search of food or shade

Adapted from a Save the Rhino Trust newsletter.

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