World Conservation and Wildlife Trust

Fighting to protect the World's Marine Life, Wildlife, Biodiversity and Population.

List of Animals In This Page


  1.  The African Rhino
  2. The African Elephant
  3. The Pygmy Hippo

The Rhino


General information on the Rhino

The Black Rhino is one of two native rhino species to the African region. Three are native to the Asian region, but all are in the family rhinocerotidae. Three of the five are critically endangered- the Javan (the rarest of only 30-40 left in world), the Sumatran and the Black Rhino with no more than 2,700 left in the wild. The rhinoceros family are known for their size reaching up to one tonne at full growth despite having a herbivorous diet. They have thick protective skin ranging from 1.5 to 5cm thick formed from layers of collagen positioned in a lattice structure. They have a reasonably small brain (400-600g dependent on age) and are famous for their territorial horn ranging from 20cm of the Indian Rhino to a stunning 150cm of the White Rhino. All African species of Rhino have two horns unlike the Asian and Indian Rhinos, whom rely on just on horn as a sign of territorial strength. The species of African Rhino are not equipped with front teeth but have to be reliant on their powerful premolar and molar teeth to grind up plant matter as a source of vital nutrition. Despite having the ability to eat fibrous plant matter due to their strong hind gut being able to ferment this food, the rhino tends to prefer leafy material. The rhinoceros has acute hearing and sense of spell but poor eyesight, meaning exact precision is needed when it comes to territorial ground.

The Black Rhino is most numerous in Central-East parts of Africa such as Tanzania and Zambia. The distinction made between the White Rhino and the Black Rhino is the clear fact that the Black rhino appears to stand much shorter at 1.5-1.75 metres tall. There are 4 subspecies of Black Rhino situated in the South-Central, Central, Northern and Eastern regions of Africa. The South-Western subspecies of Black Rhino was officially declared extinct in 2006 by the I.U.C.N. Red List of Endangered Species. The Black Rhino is considered one of the largest in the rhino family, behind the White Rhino, reaching up to 1,800 kg in comparison to the massive 3,500 kg of a fully grown White Rhino. The Black Rhino has a specially shaped pointed mouth to pick up leaves and food, can live up to 60 years old and only having one calf every few years. 

Reasons for endangerment

The Black Rhino is classed as critically endangered by the International Union of Conservation for Nature (I.U.C.N.) due to poaching for their spectacular horns made up of keratin, the same substance as fingernails, to sell on the black market for traditional Chinese medicines. Rhino's are under severe threat and face extinction within the next 20 years, if we do not act. 

Article by R.H.N.


The Elephant

General information on the Elephant

Habitat:  Forest, Savannah, Marshland, Semi-desert.
Food:  grass, leaves, shrubs, bark, twigs, roots and fruit.
Breeding:  single calf born every few years.
Size:  6 -7.5m up to 7.5 tonnes.
Life span:  50-80 years
Status:  endangered


The African elephant is found in 37 countries in Africa, they are distinguished from Asian elephants to their much larger ears, plentiful behaviour and larger physique. Males and females of the African elephant species have horns whereas only the males have horns in their closely related Asian elephant species. The African elephant has originally been classified as a single species, but time has divided them into two different subspecies- the forest and the Savannah elephant. The Savannah elephant stands the tallest, at a height of up to 4 metres and a weight of up to 12,000 kg in comparison to a height of 3 metres and a weight of up to 4,500kg of the smaller and more rounded forest elephant.

Causes for endangerment

However both of these beautiful creatures are subject to severe threat from poaching for the illegal ivory trade, habitat destruction and traditional Chinese medicine market. It is reported that elephants are highly intelligent social creatures that create life long relationships. They cry, play and even laugh. An elephant's life span is around 50-80 years. When an elephant walks past an ivory stripped, murdered, loved one, they stop still; to sorrowfully mourn and roar. They stand vigil over the body for days, even covering it with sticks and dirt. It is estimated that poachers illegally kill 11 elephants per day. Rangers lose their lives protecting elephants against armed equipped poachers. Poachers range freely across Africa, rangers are incredibly under-staffed and under-equipped. If we do not help they will lose the battle and elephants will become extinct.

Article by RHN.


The Pygmy Hippo


General information on the pygmy hippo

The pygmy hippo is native to the swamps and forests of Western africa, often being very illusive and difficult to study as they are a rare species of nocturnal mammals. It is predicted that due to recent human activities only 3,000 remain in the wild. The Pygmy Hippo weighs 1/4 of that of its common cousin (the common hippopatamus) weighing in at only 180 -275kg (considerably small for a hippopotamus). They can reach up to 150 cm in length and can grow up to 30-55 years old (though 50 is quite an outstanding age for this magnificent creature). Its small size leaves it vulnerable to crocodiles, pythons and other larger prdators.

It's diet consists of mainly ferns, broad leaved plants and fruit. They set out at dusk to forage for food and will,on average, spend about 6 hours foraging and eating its food. They often give birth to one calf every 210 days, only mating and giving birth in the water, as soon as the calf is born it already has the knowledge of how to swim. At birth the average baby will weigh between 4.5- 6.3 kg.

Reasons for endangerment

 main reasons for the endangerment of the pygmy hippopatamus is the same for many; logging, habitat destructon to make way for farms and ranches, poaching for traditional chinese medicines and for the black market and a mix up of evolutionary patterns. The story is the same, there are 3,000 pygmy hippopatamuses left in the wild, it is up to us to save them.

Article by R.H.N