What Are They Like?
The black rhinoceros is the most well known of the rhinoceros species. They measure 10-12 feet (3-3.75 meters) in length and weigh between 1,760-3,080 pounds (800-1,400 kilograms). They can vary from yellow-brown to dark brown, but are generally dark grey. They also have two horns, with the larger in front; it can reach 125 centimeters (50 inches). Compared with white rhinos, (which are also actually gray), black rhinos have smaller heads, shorter ears, and shorter horns. The black rhinoceros lives between 30 and 35 years in the wild, and can live as long as 45 years in captivity.
Where Do They Live?
Black rhinoceroses live in the southern region of Africa below the Sahara Desert. They are native to Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Black Rhinoceroses live in a variety of terrestrial environments from deserts to wetter forests. Most can be found in savannahs, both tropical and subtropical, with nutrient-rich soils.
How Are Babies Made?
Black rhinoceroses reproduce every two to two-and-a-half years. The gestation period is approximately five months. Calves are active at birth, and are known to remain dependent on their mothers for up to four years before going off on their own. Females reach sexual maturity between five and seven years, and males between seven and eight years.
What Do They Eat?
Black rhinoceroses are herbivores and browsers. They feed on small acacias, herbs, woody shrubs, twigs and grass. They eat about 53 pounds (24 kilograms) of food per day. Black rhinos use their upper lip to grab grass and guide it into their mouths, while they use their horns to break higher branches and bring them down.
What Do They Do?
Black rhinoceroses spend most of their lives alone except for mating season and when raising young. They mark their territories by defecating on dung piles. Black rhinos also travel in small family groups. They usually remain within their home range and are active in the mornings and evenings eating, drinking, and moving. In the middle of the afternoon,the hottest part of the day, they sleep. In order to stay cool, these rhinos roll around in the mud.
How Concerned Should We Be?
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has a "Red List" of species in global endangerment and has listed the Black Rhinoceros as "critically endangered." Their wild population, more than 4,000 individuals, is increasing slowly, but still endures major threats that include habitat loss due to agriculture and settlements, illegal poaching for the international rhino horn trade, and droughts due to climate change. In addition, political conflicts can delay conservation efforts and increase illegal poaching.
What's Being Done?
The black rhinoceros is listed on the CITES Appendix I, prohibiting international commercial trade in the species, and is also listed under the United States Endangered Species Act. Many remaining black rhinos are concentrated in fenced sanctuaries, conservation areas, and intensive protection zones where law enforcement effort can be most effective. In addition, monitoring of the species has led to information to guide biological management. Some conservation groups that focus on the black rhinoceros include the South African Development Community (SADC) Regional Program for Rhino Conservation, the SADC Rhino Management Group and the Southern African Rhino and Elephant Security Group. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has also made efforts to expand protected areas and improve security monitoring of the species.
Strong Gut of Black Rhinoceros
Black Rhino Mating Rituals
Black Rhino Marks Territory
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