- Scientific Name:
- Diceros bicornis
- Park Location:
- Southern and Eastern Africa
- Mainly savannah and woodland, but can be found in deserts too
- Their population has declined by around 97% since 1960s
- The black rhino isn’t black, but usually a shade of grey-brown
- Rhinos have poor eyesight, but have excellent hearing and rely heavily on scent marking to identify other rhinos
The black rhino is one of the five species of rhino. Despite its name, this rhino is usually grey or brown in colour. It can be distinguished from its counterpart, the white rhino, by possessing a hooked lip as opposed to a wide square lip.
As the African rhinos evolved, the black rhino’s mouth was better adapted for browsing on vegetation and the white rhino was more suited to grazing grass and small vegetation. The black rhino is also smaller than the white rhino.
Adult black rhinos can reach 1.4-1.8m in height and 3-3.75m in length. Their weight can vary, but an average would be around 1-1.5 tonnes, although some have been recorded to reach almost 2.9 tonnes. Even with a large body mass, the rhinos are still capable of running speeds of around 30-35mph. Once they have reached adult size they don’t have any natural predators, however, young or injured rhinos may be targeted by crocodiles and lions.
The rhinos’ horn is an important tool, used for digging up roots, branches and defence. It continues to grow as it is made of a protein called keratin, the same protein found in your hair and fingernails. The rhino then have to file it into a desired horn-shape by rubbing it against hard surfaces.
As with the other species of rhino, the main threat which the black rhino faces is poaching for its horn. This is mainly used in Asian medicines and for carving into ornaments. Other threats include habitat alteration and political conflict. It is currently illegal to trade black rhino and their products internationally. A large proportion of black rhino reside in reserves and sanctuaries to offer protection and to monitor their population. Conservation efforts are in place to ensure the breeding of the black rhinos is spread across several African countries, and that their genetics are kept as varied as possible