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Black rhinoceros

Latin name: Diceros bicornis

IUCN Red List conservation status

About: Black rhinoceros

“The intensive sanctuary approach appears to be working with the Kenya rhino population increasing at more than five per cent per year”

Dr Rob Brett

Director of Fauna & Flora International’s Africa Programme

An image relating to Black rhinoceros

Poaching in the 1970s and 80s decimated black rhinoceros populations across Africa, with numbers plummeting from 100,000 to 4,000.

Today black rhinos are found in habitats ranging from desert in south-western Africa to the montane forests of Kenya. The eastern black rhino is one of the most endangered rhino subspecies in the world with only around 700 individuals remaining.

Black rhino facts:

  • There are four different types, or subspecies, of black rhino living in different areas across Africa
  • One of the most important protected areas for eastern black rhinos is Ol Pejeta Conservancy in central Kenya
  • Black rhinos actually have dark yellow brown to dark brown or dark grey skin, not black, and they can weigh up to 1,400 kg

Still threatened, but back from the brink, illegal killing of rhinos for their horns is still the primary threat to rhinos in East Africa.

Kenya is home to around 80% per cent of eastern black rhino, and to protect them, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) supports Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a critical sanctuary in Kenya’s Laikipia district. FFI has been involved with two black rhino translocations to this protected area making it East Africa’s largest black rhino population and a key place for continuing recovery.

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Did you know?

Rhino horn can fetch a high price for use in traditional Chinese medicine and sells for thousands of US dollars per kilogram on the black market.

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