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Black Rhino

Diceros bicornis

The Black Rhinoceros is a herbivorous browser that belongs to the order of the Perissodactyla. It’s one of the two species of Rhinos native to Africa and its current range includes Southern and Eastern areas of Africa. There are about 3,610 Black Rhino still left in the wild, but it has been estimated that there were about 70,000 in the late 1960's. The Black Rhino has seen the most drastic decline of all rhino species, because of poaching and habitat loss. But due to conservation efforts numbers are stabilizing and slowly rising, although tremendous effort is still needed to secure the future for the Black Rhino. There are four subspecies of Black Rhino, but the West African Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) is tentatively declared extinct.

Black Rhino General information

  • Weight: 1,750 – 3,000 lbs

  • Height (at shoulder):  4,5 -5,5 ft

  • Length  (head and body): 10 – 12,5 ft

  • Anterior Horn length: 1 ft; 8 in – 4 ft; 4 in

  • Posterior Horn length: 1-22 in

  • Lifespan in wild: 30 to 40 years

  • Lifespan in captivity: 35 years. The oldest recorded animal lived 44 years 9 months in a zoo.

  • Characteristics: pointed hooked upper lip (prehensile lip)

Black Rhino Behaviour

  • Black Rhinos may reach speeds of 28 mph

  • Black Rhinos are usually portrayed as the most aggressive of all Rhino Species

  • Males are mainly solitary and probably territorial.

  • Female home ranges overlap and are less solitary

  • Home range size dependent on habitat, sex and age and varies greatly

  • Black Rhinos browse for food in the morning and evening and sleep or wallow during the hottest part of the day.

Black Rhino Reproduction

  • Gestation period: around 15 to 16 months.

  • Birth intervals per calf:  2.5 to 4 years.

  • Female sexual maturity: at 4 to 7 years

  • Male sexual maturity: at 7 to 10 years

  • Newborn weaned: at 2 years

Black Rhino Distribution

  • Pre 20th century numbers: several hundred thousand.

  • Current estimated numbers in wild: 3,610

  • Current numbers in captivity: At the end of 2004, there were 277 black rhinos in captivity. Through the past 200 years (until 1998), there have been 775 animals recorded in zoos, of which 292 were born in captivity

  • Habitat: grasslands, savannahs and tropical bush land.

  • Historic Natural Range: Southern and Eastern Africa (from Namibia, through Zambia up to Ethiopia, and all countries to the East) and in a East to west running belt from Ethiopia to Guinea (Southern edge of Sahara)

  • Current Range:  In several National Parks primarily located in Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania & Kenya.

Black Rhino Diet

  • Black Rhinos are browsers and primarily feed on leafy plants, branches & shoots

  • Black Rhinos are known to eat up to 220 different species of plant.

  • Black Rhinos can live up to 5 days without water.


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