In the past 16 years, the Black rhinoceros population has plummeted from 65,000 to 4000, the decline due mainly to poaching. Of the five species, four are on the brink of annihilation. British zoologist and filmmaker Penny here surveys the state of rhino populationsthe Black and White in Africa, the Great Indian One-horned in India and Nepal, the Javan in Indonesia and the Sumatran in Indonesia, Burma and Malaysiaand gives the distribution, range and life history of each species. He also discusses the medical uses of rhinoceros products, important in traditional medicine among the Chinese and Japanese; he notes that a rhinoceros-horn handle on the ceremonial daggers worn by Muslim men is a status symbol in the Arab states. Penny examines conservation efforts in Africa and in Asia, where habitat destruction is the problem rather than poaching, and he cites organizations working to save the rhinoceros from extinction. Photos. Natural Science Book Club alternate. (March)
The rhinoceros, the second largest land animal, has existed for 50 million years but now faces extinction. Pronouncing a strong conservation message, Penny, a zoologist, presents an up-to-date account of the status of the five rhino species, including characteristics and habits, and accompanied by photos and current and former range maps. In other chapters, the author discusses evolution, ecology, conservation measures, and illegal trade. This is an attractive package intended for lay and young adult readers, but Esmond Martin and Chryssee Bradley's impressive Run Rhino Run ( LJ 5/1/83) is still the better choice. Frank Reiser, Nassau Community Coll., Garden City, N.Y.
Gr 9 Up Zoologist Penny has written an accurate, readable account of the demise of the rhinoceros. Combining natural history and conservation attempts, he offers a thorough and disturbing treatise on the declining population of this sedentary, uncompetitive animal. Chapters include a description of the five remaining species of rhino, uses of its body parts including dagger handles or aphrodisiac soup made from the horn, and conservation attempts in Africa and Asia. Although obviously pro-rhino, Penny presents a balanced, non-hysterical view of the effects of man, logging, and agriculture on the rhinoceros. Beautiful color plates, accurate sketches, and distribution maps add to the superior quality of this book. Although some background in biology would make the scientific terminology easier to understand, it is not a requirement to be able to read, comprehend, and appreciate this book. This is not just a book about rhinos; it is a book that will make readers want to give all wildlife a chance to carry out their normal evolutionary progression. Pam Spencer, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Fairfax County, Va.