Black Rhinoceros  



Black Rhinoceros
(Diceros bicornis)
French Rhinocéros noir
Distribution map Black Rhinoceros

Distribution map
  German Spitzmaulnashorn
Spanish Rinoceronte negro
Local language Afrikaans: Swartrenoster
isiNdebele: Ubhejane onzima, Umkhombo onzima
isiXhosa: Umkhombe
isiZulu: Ubhejane, isibhejane
kiSwahili: Faru
oshiVambo: oMinda
otjiHerero: oNgara, oNgava
seSotho, seTswana: Tshukudu
chiShona: Chipenbere, nhema
siSwati: Sibhejane
tshiVenda: Thema
Range Eastern Africa, central and southern Africa
Habitat Grasslands, savannahs and tropical bushlands
Black Rhinoceros   IUCN Red List Status 2006 Critically endangered
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed
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)
Black Rhinoceros   Facts about the Black Rhinoceros

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.
Black Rhinoceros   Why do zoos keep the Black Rhinoceros

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 savanna ecosystems in which they live and may serve as flagship species for conservation campaigns.
Black Rhinoceros   How the Black Rhinoceros should be kept

For a pair of adult rhinos an outdoor enclosure of 1000 m˛ should be provided which should allow for a subdivision into two enclosures if so required. The enclosure should be enlarged by 10% for each additional animal kept. Some protection against rain, snow, wind and sun should be provided. The soil should in places allow for grubbing, but should be paved or covered by marly limestone at feeding sites and at the entrance to the indoor facilities. There should be a mud bath, and clean drinking water should be available at all times. The animals should have access to the outdoor enclosure all year round. <br
In temperate and cold climatic zones, black rhinos must have also have an indoor enclosure of at least 30 m˛ per animal, in addition there must be a bathing pool. It must be possible to separate each animal. A mininal room temperature of 15°C should be maintained.

Surplus males may be kept singly, otherwise black rhinos should be kept in pairs or small groups.

The food should be composed of grass, hay, herbivore pellets, fruit and leaves.
Black Rhinoceros   How the Black Rhinoceros 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.
Fact sheet compiled by   Peter Dollinger and Silvia Geser, WAZA Executive Office (updates December 2008)

CITES IDM fact sheet
Mills, G. & Hes L. (1997) The Complete Book of Southern African Mammals. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
Smithers, R. H. N. (1983) Mammals of the Southern African Subregion. University of Pretoria.
Stuart, C. & T. (1988) Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa. New Holland Publishers, London.
Photographs by courtesy of   (1) PD, taken at Mount Etjo (Namibia)
(2) PD taken at Ngorongo Crater (Tanzania)
(3) PD, taken at Etosha National Park (Namibia)
(4) PD, taken at Berlin Zoo (Germany)
(5) Peter Linhart, Tiergarten Schönbrunn, Vienna (Austria)

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.

Useful Links

VDZ Fact Sheet

Interntional Rhino Foundation

In situ Projects

Rhino Conservation Zimbabwe Returning Eastern Black Rhinos to Tanzania

Exhibits on ZOOLex

Virtual Zoo Map

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