Mike Unwin
United Kingdom GB
Sep 22, 2017 September 22, 2017

Mike is an award winning wildlife writer, editor of Travel Zambia magazine and author of the Bradt Guide to Southern African Wildlife.

Categories: African Wildlife, SafariBookings News, The Big Five

The Black Rhino (Diceros Bicornis)

The black rhino is the rarer and smaller of Africa’s two rhino species. We distinguish it from the larger white rhino by its shape, diet and temperament. It is no more ‘black’, however, than its relative is white. Both species acquire their colour from the mud in which they wallow, so vary from brown to grey.

5 Fascinating Facts About the Black Rhino

  1. We also know this species as the ‘hook-lipped rhino’ from the prehensile upper lip with which it grips the woody plant stems on which it feeds. The white rhino, by contrast, has a square mouth, which it uses for grazing.
  2. Scientists have identified eight distinct regional subspecies of black rhino. Three are now extinct and only three – the eastern, south-central and south-western – still have viable populations.
  3. Africa’s black rhino population plummeted from hundreds of thousands in 1900 to fewer than 2,500 by 2000. Uncontrolled hunting was to blame – at first for trophies, and then to supply the lucrative market for its horn. This occurred mostly in China and the Middle East. Today, some 4,300 remain and the species is classed as Critically Endangered.
  4. The black rhino has the highest known combat death rate for any mammal. Some 50% of males meet their end fighting.
  5. Black rhinos may look cumbersome, but they can run at up to 56kph, turn on the spot, and wield their horn with such dexterity that they can strike a tennis ball thrown towards them.

Protect the Black Rhino

SafariBookings is committed to supporting wildlife conservation efforts and the fight against poaching. To that end, we launched our first ever Rhino Donation Campaign and chose three outstanding wildlife conservation organizations to compete for the $10,000 prize. On December 19th, we announced the winner, Save the Rhino - chosen by our online voters. That's you, our readers! Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and International Rhino Foundation (IRF) were the other two competitors on the "ballot." All three organizations are doing phenomenal work and we encourage you to learn more about them. In the meantime, we will continue to raise awareness about the fight against poaching. So follow us on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram and we’ll keep you posted!