Endangered Animal Summaries


Black Rhinoceros

Black rhinoceros are grey and have a pointed upper lip, and two horns. They can't see very well, but they have a good sense of smell and hearing. They are curious and can be aggressive to humans and other animals

Using their upper lip, the black rhinoceros eats leaves and twigs. They look for food at dawn and dusk, when it is cooler. The rest of the day, they stay in the shade or stand in water holes. They cover their skin in mud to protect it from the strong sun and to prevent fly bites. The black rhino grows to 14 feet long, stands over 4.5 feet at the shoulder, and weighs up to 3,900 pounds.

Black rhinos are now only found in reserves (protected lands) in Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Cameroon, Malawi and Swaziland. (These countries are in Africa.) Their habitat can be the desert, woodlands, and wooded grasslands

The black rhino is endangered because of people hunting them, which is against the law. People use the horns for medicine and to make knife (dagger) handles. In 1990, the two horns from a single black rhino brought as much as $50,000. Now, there are only about 2,500 black rhinos left. Because of this, the rhinos are literally kept under armed guard. They forage (look for and eat food) during the day, guarded by men with rifles, and they are locked up at night under armed guard. The horns are so valuable that the hunters have even killed guards to get to the rhinos.

Because the rhino is so aggressive, other animals don't usually bother it. However, if a baby rhino goes too far away from its mother, they can become targets for large cats, wild dogs, and crocodiles.

Information for this summary was found on the following websites:





Mountain gorillas are big and powerful, but they are also gentle, patient and loving. They live in family groups with up to 12 gorillas. The group is led by the largest male, called the silverback because of the beautiful silver fur on his back. They protect their young and will defend them to the death. People who try to catch baby gorillas to sell in other countries often have to kill entire families of gorillas just to catch the baby gorilla. The silverback is the leader and helps the group to find food. He will also defend the gorillas in the group if there is an attack. Usually, the gorillas in the group don't fight each other, but sometimes, as the leader gets older, another younger silverback will fight him to become the leader.

The mountain gorillas spend the day eating, playing, grooming each other and making nests. Gorillas spend a lot of time grooming, or picking insects from each other's fur. The insects they take out from the fur they eat!

Gorillas communicate with each other in many ways. They make faces, sound and gestures with their hands. They make at least 22 different sounds to communicate different feelings, from playful chuckling (laughing) to frightened screams — even belches (burbs) when they are happy.

Mountain gorillas eat plants like wild celery, thistles, nettles, and bamboo. They like to play with each other. They don't fight with people unless someone is trying to hurt them.

Mountain gorillas are one of the most endangered animals in the world. There are only about 600 mountain gorillas left. The gorillas live high up, sometimes on the sides of volcanoes, in the rain forests in Rwanda, Zaire and Uganda, which are countries in Africa. There are no mountain gorillas in any zoos.

Mountain gorillas are endangered because their habitat (where they live) is being destroyed. The reason for this is because people want the land for farming. Also, people kill gorillas for food, and so they can sell their heads and hands as souvenirs (gifts.) Finally, gorillas are sometimes killed because of war in their country.

Mountain gorillas really don't have any natural enemies. Sometimes, they might fight with wild cats, but this is more about the two animals needing the same space to live. Amazingly, gorillas make weapons by sharpening sticks with their teeth, and they will use them against predators. They are also known to throw heavy rocks at predators in an attempt to get them to run away

This information was taken from articles on these websites: http://www.bagheera.com/inthewild/van_anim_gorilla.htm




Asian Elephants

Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants. They have smaller ears and their backs are more rounded. Only the male elephants have tusks. The elephant's nose and upper lip are joined to make a trunk. Elephants use their trunk for feeding, vocalization, which is making noises to communicate, bathing and fighting. The elephants have thick, wrinkly skin which is very dry. They weigh around 5,000 pounds and are 9 to 10 feet tall.

Asian elephants are very smart and can live a long time. They live in groups of 6 to 7 females. The group is led by the oldest female, called the “matriarch.” The males leave their mothers and go on their own when they are about 6 to 7 years old. Then, they mostly stay by themselves. They communicate with each by making low frequency vibrations or sounds so low that humans can't hear them.

Elephants spend three-quarters of the day eating. They use their trunks to pick grasses and put them into their mouths. Elephants eat about 330 pounds of grass, plants, fruit, bark, bananas and rice that is being grown in fields. They only have 4 teeth for chewing. Also, they drink about 50 gallons of water each day.

The Asian elephant lives in parts of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Laos People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia and Indonesia. (These are all countries found in Asia.) The Asian elephants' habitat is grasslands and forests. They like areas that have both grass and low woody plants and trees.

Today there are 35,000 to 40,000 Asian elephants left in the wild. They are endangered because of habitat loss and hunting. Land that the elephants live on has been destroyed because people need it to live on. Farmers don't like the elephants damaging their crops, and the farmers sometimes killed them. Also, male elephants are killed for their tusks. This leaves mostly female elephants, but male and female elephants are needed to make babies. When the adult elephants are killed, the young elephants don't have anyone to teach them where to go to find food and water.

Elephants don't really have any natural animal enemies. Sometimes, tigers, lions or hyenas attack weak, sick or baby elephants. Also, once in a while, crocodiles attack baby crocodiles in the water without the mom.

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