The Black Rhinoceros is classified as critically endangered and are on the brink of extinction according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They’re 1.4-1.8m tall and weigh between 800-1400kg. The Black Rhinoceros have a pointed upper lip, two horns which grows up to 1.5m long and they’re actually grey in colour not black. Females use their horns to protect their young while males use theirs for attacking.
98% of the total Black Rhinoceros population are found in Central and Southern Africa in countries including South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya. The Black Rhinoceros lives in tropical and sub-tropical grassland, savannas, shrub lands and deserts. They used to roam most of Sub-Saharan Africa but due to poaching are now close to becoming extinct.
The Black Rhinoceros population is now only just over 5,000 due to continuous poaching and trading over the years. The Black Rhinoceros’ horns are in large demand and this is a major threat to this species. In the 1970’s there was a huge demand for Black Rhinoceros’ horns in Yemen where it was used to make handles for traditional daggers worn by the wealthy to symbolise their status in society. As a result the Black Rhinoceros population plummeted . Although this demand had now subsided, they are still being illegally exported to Asia for use in traditional medicine. Another threat is that over the years Black Rhinoceros have been killed for sport and for its hide and meat.
Several organisations are assisting in preventing the Black Rhinoceros from becoming extinct. Conservation efforts are focusing on reducing the demand for Black Rhinoceros’ horns while at the same time increasing population in the wild. Currently all trade in Black Rhinoceros’ horn is prohibited and the extent of illegal trade is monitored by TRAFFIC( the wildlife trade monitoring network of the IUCN and WWF). These organisations are working in countries where Black Rhinoceros are in demand to draw attention to the link between the use of Rhinoceros’ horns and the suffering of wild rhinoceros as well as to find suitable alternatives for use in traditional medicines. Most wild populations are now protected in reserves which are patrolled regularly by anti- poaching teams and a de-horning program has been introduced in some areas in an attempt to discourage poaches. This has halted the decline of the Black Rhinoceros’s population, however poaching and trade still continues.
ï,§ They have sharp hearing and a good sense of smell
ï,§ They are herbivore( meaning that they eat plants not meat)
ï,§ Females reproduce only every 2.5-5 years
ï,§ Black rhinos feed at night and during the hours of dawn and dusk
ï,§ They often find a suitable water hole and roll in its mud, coating their skin with a natural bug repellent and sunscreen.