Black rhino

Diceros bicornis

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The rhino, or rhinoceros in full, is an impressive, highly distinctive mammal that originally stems from a family with an especially profuse number of species. On the basis of fossil discoveries, over one hundred species have been recorded. Today, there are only five extant species: the white rhinoceros, the black rhinoceros, the Indian rhinoceros, the Sumatran rhinoceros and the Javan rhinoceros. Their nearest relatives are horses and tapirs. Their characteristic feature, which gives the animal its name and is derived from the original Ancient Greek, is the presence of one or two horns. These are not formed by bones, rather they consist, above all else, of the protein keratin, which is also a component of hair. The horn continues to grow throughout the animal’s entire life. Black rhinos live south of the Sahara and in South and Southeast Asia. Their habitat comprises the savannah, as well as tropical rainforests in both highlands and lowlands. They mostly live solitary lives. They sight is poor, nevertheless they are able to run up to speeds as fast as 45 km/h. Rhinos are herbivores with a wide-reaching spectrum of available nutrition. The teeth, above all the molars, attest to this: a low crown and less cementum. The hunting of rhinos is still a prestigious enterprise. This skull is an old hunting trophy. The donor, Wilhelm Winterer (1879-1969), was an officer in the Imperial Schutztruppe (Protection Force) and so perhaps we may assume that he shot the animal himself. However, a more precise documentation of the object’s provenance is unavailable at present. Black rhinos are listed in Appendix I of the CITIES convention, in the EU Statute 2019/2117 (EG) as a strictly, that is to say, particularly protected species, as well as a particularly protected species under the Federal Nature Conservation Law (BNatSchG).

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