Black rhinos are the smaller of the two African rhino species. The most notable difference between white and black rhinos are their hooked upper lip. This distinguishes them from the white rhino, which has a square lip. Black rhinos are browsers rather than grazers, and their pointed lip helps them feed on leaves from bushes and trees. They have two horns, and occasionally a third, small posterior horn.
Populations of black rhino declined dramatically in the 20th century at the hands of European hunters and settlers. Between 1960 and 1995, black rhino numbers dropped by a sobering 98%, to less than 2,500. Since then, the species has made a tremendous comeback from the brink of extinction. Thanks to persistent conservation efforts across Africa, black rhino numbers have doubled from their historic low 20 years ago to between 5,042 and 5,455 today. However, the black rhino is still considered critically endangered, and a lot of work remains to bring the numbers up to even a fraction of what it once was—and to ensure that it stays there. Wildlife crime—in this case, poaching and black-market trafficking of rhino horn—continues to plague the species and threaten its recovery.
Africa's Western Black Rhino: An Extinct Species
692 WordsFeb 1st, 20183 Pages
In recent years, various species and subspecies of rhinoceros have become threatened, endangered, and even extinct. One such subspecies, which was not only endangered, but has been declared extinct inhabitat as of June 26, 2013, is Africa's Western black rhino (Lavina, 2013). The black rhino is the smaller of the two African rhinoceros species and are further divided into four subspecies including the Western Diceros bicornis longipes, Eastern Diceros bicornic michaeli, Southwestern Diceros bicornis bicornis, and the South-Central Diceros bicornis minor (Factfile: black rhino, 2013). Black rhinos stand at approximately 1.6 meters high, can weigh between 900kg (female) to 1,350kg (males), have two horns that vary in shape and size depending on region, are dark gray in color with hair on the ears, tail tips, and eyelashes (Factfile: black rhino, 2013). Compared to the white rhino, black rhinos are smaller, have a less pronounced hump on the back of their necks, have smaller heads, are browsers (meaning they eat from higher bushes or trees), and have a hooked lip, as opposed to the flat-based lip their white rhinoceros counterparts posses (Factfile: black rhino, 2013). One of the primary reasons black rhinos have been hunted to extinction or near extinction is the demand for their horns, which are believed…