Category: Ungulates

Location: Safari Drive

About White Rhino

The white rhino is thought to be the second-largest living land mammal. There are five surviving rhino species alive today including two in Africa and three in Asia. At Knowsley Safari, we have one of the largest rhino crash in the UK. There is a breeding group of rhino in our crash and they have been a popular part of our Safari Drive since opening in 1972.

All species of rhino are endangered. The current white rhino population is around 17,000 and they are the least endangered species of rhino in the world. White rhinos live in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Kenya in floodplains, grassland and savannahs.

The white rhino lives in a social group called a crash, which is mainly made up of females and their young calves. Male white rhino spend their time alone looking for females to mate with and defend territories. Unfortunately, white rhino horns are highly sought after, making these magnificent creatures likely to become extinct in the wild within a generation.

See our crash of white rhino on the Safari Drive.

Name: White Rhino

Location: South Africa. The sub-species in North Africa are now extinct in the wild

Population: Around 17,000 due to conservation and protected sanctuaries

Status: Near Threatened

Threats: Human poaching to trade their horns


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Fun facts about White Rhino

Despite their looming physique, white rhinos like to keep to themselves. Of course, if they feel threatened, they can certainly defend themselves, but they are generally placid creatures. So, whether you are preparing for a visit to the safari to see a rhino up close or just want to know more about these magnificent creatures, we have some fun facts for you to check out.

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    The white rhino is the second largest, living, land mammal
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    The word white refers to the Afrikaan word ‘weit’ meaning wide due to their wide mouths
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    White rhino are more likely to be seen in groups than black rhino
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    They are herbivores and feed on grass
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    A female rhino is pregnant for 16 months and they give birth to a single calf
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White rhino facts - Your questions answered!

There are around 18,000 white rhinos left in the wild. You can find both southern white rhino and northern white rhino. Here at Knowsley Safari we have two crash of southern white rhino. Since March 2018, there have only been 2 northern white rhinos left and both of them are female.

The white rhino is not extinct and most live in protected areas or in captivity. However, the subspecies northern white rhino is close to extinction as only two females remain. The southern white rhino is near threatened with numbers increasing in the last decade showing spectacular conservation success. However, there is still work to be done as they face threats from illegal poaching and habitat loss.


Despite their large, ominous, size rhinos are herbivores so they only eat plants. Rather than chomping on leaves and trees, the white rhino prefers to eat short grass and fresh growth. However, that means they need to eat lots of it in order to feel full!

Unfortunately, white rhinos are hunted for their horns. In traditional Asian medicine, white rhino horns are ground down and used to treat a number of illnesses despite the fact that it has the same chemical make up as human hair and fingernails. Some people also purchase white rhino horns to use as decorations, destroying an entire species in the process.

Don’t be fooled by their large size, rhinos can certainly pick up the pace when they need to. The white rhino can run 50km per hour. When you consider the average human can run around 24km per hour in short bursts, this is pretty fast.

White rhinos don’t get their name from their colour. It is thought to reference the Afrikaans word ‘weit’ which means wide, relating to its mouth. This allows it to chomp on large amounts of grass at a time. They also have a lower-slung head and larger neck muscle than the black rhino.

Saving the white rhino is actually pretty simple. Once people start respecting them and stop poaching them for their horns, they can continue to live safely in the wild. Until then, we need to spread the message to stop people from buying them and contribute towards conservation projects.

Where to see the white rhino at Knowsley Safari

Cruise past our white rhino on the Safari Drive. You can find them in zone 4 in the African Savannah.

Want to get even closer to the white rhino?

Step behind the scenes for a rhino encounter to learn more about the animals and have the chance to feed them.

What do we do for conservation?

We have one of the most successful and genetically diverse breeding groups of white rhino in Europe. This is made possible by the guests who visit our park each year.

You can learn about our conservation projects here.

What can you do for conservation?

To help protect these magnificent mammals, you can adopt a rhino today. Find out more here.

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