Rhino have been on Earth for around 50 million years.
In this time, rhino species have roamed across not only Africa and Asia but also Europe and North America. Only five species exist today: white and black rhino of Africa, greater one-horned rhinos of the Indian subcontinent, and Javan and Sumatran rhinos. The rhino family tree used to be far more diverse, and even included a species called the giant unicorn, which grew up to 20 feet (6 meters) in length and had a horn up to 7 feet (2 meters) long!
Some 500,000 rhinos existed across Asia and Africa just 100 years ago but since the beginning of the 20th century, their numbers have fallen precipitously.
There were just 70,000 by 1970 and a mere 29,000 in the wild today.
Wild rhino could disappear within a few decades if poachers continue killing hundreds of rhinos every year. This would be not only a devastating blow to the world as a whole, but also to many national economies, which could continue to make money from rhinos through eco-tourism and photo safaris. Rhinos, like so many big fauna, are worth far more alive than dead over the course of their long lifetimes, both through the ecological benefits they provide to their habitats as well as through the thousands upon thousands of dollars tourists are willing to pay to see a rhino grazing peacefully in the wild.
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