Black Rhinoceros

Diceros bicornis

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Date of Discovery

The Black Rhino was discovered nearly 10,000 years ago by early humans. These animals are practically walking fossils.

Date of Extiction

These mammals are not yet extinct, but are critically endangered. They became endangered between 1970 and 1992 when 97.6% of Africa's remaining rhinos were killed for their horns. They were officially named critically endangered in 1996.

Biogeographical Data

The Black Rhino is found mainly in South Africa in places such as Botswana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Cameroon, and Coastal East Africa. They live mainly in tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, deserts, and xeric shrublands.

The population size began with 65,000 and went down to 2,300, and is now a little over 5,000.

The Black Rhino uses mud as sunscreen and bug repellent. They are herbivores and eat trees, bushes, shrubs, and grasses. The red and yellow-billed ox-peckers are often perched on rhinos. They remove ticks and clean parasites from open wounds. They also act as an alarm when predators are near.

The Rhino is typically solitary and territorial, but they can be semi-social and less aggressively territorial. Bulls live alone unless courting a female. Younger bulls are submissive to older bulls. Females also are solitary unless they have a calf. Rhinos leave scent markings by urinating, defecating, or rubbing their head on things to activate scent glands. Sniffing and snorting are common noises. Grunting is their way of communicating. These massive animals are least active during the hottest parts of the day and seek shade from rocks or trees. They are often found in mud wallows, rolling around. Calves stay with moms until they are 3. Calves reach maturity at 3.5-4 years. Calves may rejoin the mother in the future.

Causes of Extinction

The causes of them becoming endangered are poaching. Poachers kill for the horn of the rhino which is used for Chinese medicine and for decorative handles on weapons. Habitat loss is also another reason for their population dropping, but it is not as significant as poaching.

Ecological Effects

Black Rhinos are an important source of income for ecotourism. They also have a symbiotic relationship with yellow-billed ox-peckers. Black Rhinos are the main food source for these birds and without these creatures, these birds would begin to starve.
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Possible Actions to Stop Extinction

While there are monitoring and protection systems set up to ward of poachers, there are still people killing Black Rhinos. By adopting a Rhino or donating to the WWF, you can help protect these animals further. WWF is also tackling illegal wildlife trade so anyone found trading Rhino horns will be arrested.


"Black Rhino." World Wildlife Fund, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.

"Support the." Diceros Bicornis (Black Rhinoceros, Hook-lipped Rhinoceros). N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.

"What Will Happen after the Rhinos Are Gone? - Conservation." Conservation RSS. N.p., 19 Feb. 2014. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.