Rhinos have intrinsic value. They are considered an umbrella species, which means that other species, from plants and birds to insects and mammals, depend on them.
We don’t even know what all of the impacts of losing rhinos are on the ecosystems they are found in, which means that there is no way of telling what the potential ramifications will be, until it is too late. For example, black rhinos browse on the tips of shrubs and low trees, pruning these plants and keeping their growth in check. This benefits species that depend on small trees and low shrubs for shelter and food. Removing rhino’s results in these plants becoming overgrown, changing the landscape and making it unsuitable for species such as antelopes, which in turn leave the area. In this way the entire ecosystem is altered leading to desertification, and even the death of other species.
Another example is the important role rhinos play in seed dispersal. These large herbivores digest huge volumes of plant material dispersing the seeds in their dung and thus playing an important role in the health and maintenance of vegetation in their habitats. A final example, is the symbiotic relationship between African rhinos and oxpeckers.
These birds are even called the rhino guard in Swahili, for the close relationship they have with rhinos. Oxpeckers sit on rhinos eating the ticks and other insects off them and in return these birds noisily warn rhinos of approaching danger.