Status: Critically Endangered
Known as: Black Rhino, Black Rhinoceros, Hook-lipped Rhinoceros.
Estimated numbers left in the wild: Around 3600.
Description: The black rhino can weigh up to 1.5 tonnes and grow up to 140 – 160 cm in height. They can live up to 30 – 35 years in the wild and about 45 years in captivity.
Black rhinos have poor eyesight and are rely heavily on their sense of smell and acute hearing to alert them to the presence of predators. Even though they look slow, they are extremely fast and agile with a top speed of more than 50 km/hr.
They are usually dark grey however, can range from dark yellow brown to dark brown. This species has two horns but some can have a third smaller horn. What mainly sets them apart from the white rhinos are the pointed upper lip, which they use to browse through twigs and shoots. They are also smaller in size.
Black Rhinos are solitary animals. They generally come together for the purpose of mating, with mothers and calves congregating in small groups for short periods of time before moving off. Males are much less social than females.
Habitat: Black rhinos are not very territorial and often travel in and out of other rhino territories. Their home ranges will vary from season to season and are dependent on availability of food and water.
East and central Africa in countries such as Angola, Cameroon, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
They can be found mainly in grasslands, deserts and montane forests.
Threats: The biggest threat to this magnificent animal is man. The poaching of rhinos escalated in the 1970s, not for their meat but for their horns. In certain Asian countries such as China, Vietnam and Thailand the rhino horns are believed to cure cancer and other ailments, however no scientific study has ever supported this belief. Because of the high prices for their horns, poachers are now being supplied by international crime syndicates with military weapons, and in some cases helicopters to track down the animals.
Another threat caused by man is habitat loss.
Conservation efforts: A lot of conservation organisations work to save the black rhinos from going extinct. Their work include; translocating rhinos from unsafe areas to safer areas, reintroducing captivity-born rhinos to the wild, teaching local communities about how they can benefit from conservation, stopping poaching and decreasing demand for rhino horns by creating awareness around the globe.
Black Rhino Videos
The Aspinall Foundation
The Aspinall Foundation works with the South African National Parks and the Tanzanian government to reintroduce endangered black rhinos to the wild through an exchange programme.
Call from the Wild
Call from the Wild is an organisation started by Frankfurt Zoological Society which supports a variety of national parks throughout Africa to protect different endangered species including black rhinos.
Dambari Wildlife Trust
Dambari Wildlife Trust work to protect the black rhinos in Zimbabwe through field work, research, education and outreach programmes. They also provide supplies to rangers to stop poaching and support translocations of rhinos in danger.
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust work to protect African elephants and black rhinos in Kenya through a nursery and hand-rearing, anti-poaching projects, de-snaring and education programmes.
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation sells artwork to fund breeding programmes, anti-poaching projects, field work and education programmes to protect black rhinos in South Africa and Namibia.
Save the Rhino
Save the Rhino works with local partners in Asia and Africa to protect the five different rhino species. They support anti-poaching activities, monitoring, environmental education, community conservation, translocations and captive breeding.
Sebakwe Black Rhino Trust
The Sebakwe Black Rhino Trust is based in the UK and works with the Midlands Black Rhino Conservancy to protect the future of black and white rhinos in Zimbabwe.