The Rhino is one of my absolute favourite animals and so much more magestic than they are given credit for. I had the privilage of being up close and personal with one of these beautiful creatures at our open plains zoo – Monarto Zoo which is home to 6 Southern White Rhinos including a calf who was born in July 2020. My husband and I did the Rhino Express experience where you get to meet, touch feed one of the resident male Rhinos Ibutho and I can honestly say that experience moved me to tears.
Not only was the keeper amazing but her wealth of knowledge and passion for these beautiful animals has led her to become invovled in numerous international programs to help the conservation of Rhinos. If you are ever in South Australia I highly recommend visiting this state of the art Zoo which is involved in a large amount of conservation and offers a wealth of knowledge and experiences, you can find the link to find out more about the zoo here.
In order to understand the spiritual aspects of an animal, it is my firm belief that we must also know about the general aspects of them as well as the conservation, after all we cannot benefit from their spiritual gifts and wisdom without being informed of their place in the web of life and how we can help to keep them there, humans are the guardians of the physical planet after all, so lets jump into some facts about these gentle giants.
There are 5 species of Rhino – two are African and 3 are Asian. The African Rhinos are known simply as Black Rhinos and White Rhinos, though they are both grey in colour. The history of the name comes from the Afrikaans word for ‘wide” (Wyd) which refers to the wide, square lip of the White Rhino and it is when early English explorers heard this, they mistook the word to be “white” and to differentiate between the two species they rather inventively decided to call the other one “black”.
Of these Black Rhino and White Rhino, many subspecies are extinct in the wild and we are witnessing the extinction of the Northern White Rhino as there are none left in the wild and only two females left in captivity that cannot breed. The last Northern White Rhino bull (male) died in 2018. The black Rhino is considered critically endagered as are the Asian Sumartran and Javan Rhinos. Others are considered endangered.
Poaching and habitat loss are the biggest threats to the Rhino population and poachers are becoming extremely quick and smart at poaching – many are now using helicopters to shoot or tranquilise the rhinos from the air, they then cut the horn and take it away in the helicopters, the entire process only takes around 10 mins of time. Most rhinos if they are not already dead will bleed to death from the wound.
The rhino horn is made of keratin – the same thing your fingernails are made from and it does continously grow in the lifetime of the rhino. Males are known as bulls and females are called cows. The females are more social than the males who are extremely territorial and solitary, though some do have a unique relationship with the Oxpecker bird that sits on their back, eating any bugs that crawls on the rhinos skin. A group of rhinos is called a Crash. Rhinos are strictly herbivores.
Though these beautiful animals are huge and seemingly intimidating, they are quite gentle in many ways. The rhino has poor vision and they rely on their strong sense of smell and one of their ways of communicating and gathering information on other rhinos in the area is through their poo – rhinos will use the same area as a toilet and this is known as a latrine. They also communicate in unique honking sounds and sneezes.
Rhinos love mud and enjoy a good mud bath, rolling in it to create a mud coat that keeps them cool, stops insects from biting them and gets rid of parasites. Interestingly you would expect all the skin on the Rhino to feel rough but during my experience with being able to touch Ibutho, there are little areas like behind the ear and in between the folds of their skin that is silky soft. Asian Rhinos are excellent swimmers but their African counterparts can drown in deep water.
Now that your brain is full of some fun Rhino facts, lets dive into the spiritual meanings of what this animal represents when it shows up in our life.
One of the strongest messages this animal brings to us is to connect with Mother Earth. This is extremely important as this animal is so close to extinction and needs to be protected. Through connecting with mother earth we begin to feel grounded and remember our connection to the web of life. The rhino is closely linked with the elements of Earth and Water and working with these can be extremely beneficial if Rhino spirit has shown up in your life. Rhino asks you to look to nature and your environment to find inspiration if you have been feeling stuck or uninspired and brings a greater sense of awareness and appreciation for the natural world around you.
The Rhino reminds us to have gratitude for what we already have and to see the abundance around us instead of lack. Rhino says that you can break through any obstacle in your way and know that with determination you can and will achieve what you want no matter what obstacle stands in your path.
The Rhino lends us their qualities of strength, resilience, stamina and sturdiness and says to rise above confrontation when it arises, do not be too quick to judge others and to understand what your true motives are in your endevours. Surround yourself with people and things that add value to your life and dont be afraid to do things in an unconvential way.
Rhino guides us to achieve true greatness, to have freedom and stand tall in our authenticity and take our place in society with pride and gratitude. Rhino brings deep spriritual awareness and helps to clear our mind, reminding us that we must also take time in contemplative solitude in order to rejuvenate, regenerate and experience a renewal of energy. Often this spirit animal heralds the development of spiritual gifts such as Clairaudience and Clairalience.
Call on Rhino spirit if you wish to embody these energies or seek guidance and pay attention to where this message may be showing up in your life if Rhino has stepped into your world.