Black Rhinoceros

(Diceros bicornis)


Black Rhinoceros IUCN EXTINCT (EX)


Facts about this animal

The black rhino is a medium-sized rhino species. It reaches a head-body length of 330-360 cm, a shoulder height of 147-160 cm, and a body weight of 1400 to allegedly 2800 kgs.

The head is relatively small with two slender horns, which are usually longer in females than in males, a narrow, prehensile upper lip and rather short and rounded ears fringed by short hair. The skin is naked and light grey coloured, there is a skin fold at the base of the forelimb.

Males reach sexual maturity at 7-8 years, females at 5-7 years. After a gestation period of 15 months a single calf with a birth weight of about 40 kgs is born. The youngster stays with the mother at least until the next birth, which usually occurs after an interval of 2-4 years.

Did you know?
That, to prevent the continuation of poaching, which is largely responsible for the catastrophic decline in rhino numbers, a rhino's horn can quickly be sawed off under anesthesia? This procedure which eliminates the main target of poachers, is completely painless and has little or no effect on the rhino's social life.


Name (Scientific) Diceros bicornis
Name (English) Black Rhinoceros
Name (French) Rhinocéros noir
Name (German) Spitzmaulnashorn
Name (Spanish) Rinoceronte negro
Local names Afrikaans: Swartrenoster
isiNdebele: Ubhejane onzima, Umkhombo onzima
isiXhosa: Umkhombe
isiZulu: Ubhejane, isibhejaneki
Swahili: Faru
oshiVambo: oMinda
otjiHerero: oNgara, oNgava
seSotho, seTswana: Tshukuduchi
Shona: Chipenbere, nhemasi
Swati: Sibhejanetshi
Venda: Thema
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Matthew Field



Range Eastern Africa, central and southern Africa
Habitat Grasslands, savannahs and tropical bushlands
Wild population Approx. 4'200, increasing (year 2008). D. b. minor 1995 D. b. bicornis 1505 D. b. michaeli 700 D. b. longipes 0 - probably extinct
Zoo population 188 reported to ISIS (2008)

In the Zoo

Black Rhinoceros


How this animal should be transported

Rhinos should be allowed to get used to the transport crate, which may take from 1-6 weeks depending on the individual rhino’s temperament. Transport crates should allow the rhino to stand comfortably, provide drainage for urine, be adequately reinforced, have adequate ventilation holes or spacing, permit access for food and water for longer transports, and allow handlers to adequately monitor the rhino’s condition. Temperature in the crate should range from 12-20 °C. Handlers familiar with the individual rhino should travel with the animal to the receiving institution. They should regularly monitor the condition of the animal during transport.

For air transport, Container Requirement 71 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.

Road transport (according to the South African Standard SANS 10331): Transport in special rhino crates under tranquillization. Professional assistance from competent nature conservation staff or an experienced capture team is necessary for loading and transportation since special facilities are required.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by

Why do zoos keep this animal

The Black rhino is critically endangered in the wild. Many populations have disappeared, and one of the subspecies is doomed to extinction. With a view of building up an ex situ insurance population an International Studbook was set up in 1966 under the WAZA umbrella, and zoos maintain now largely self-sustained populations of the East African (Diceros bicornis michaeli) and South African (Diceros bicornis minori) managed under regional conservation breeding programmes.

Black rhinos are of course also good models for art classes and will serve educational purposes in the fields of biology and conservation. They are good ambassadors for the savannah ecosystems in which they live and may serve as flagship species for conservation campaigns.