Black Rhinoceros

Diceros bicornis

Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

Cause of Decline: Overexploitation

Location: Africa

Collection: Mammals

FMNH catalogue no. 127848

Rhinoceros are one of the oldest groups of mammals alive today and all five of its species suffer from various levels of endangerment. Native to eastern and southern Africa, the black rhino is differentiated by its pointed lip, as opposed to the square lip of the white rhinoceros. It can weigh up to 1770kg and has two prominent horns, the longest of which can reach up to 50cm.

D. bicornis have experienced great decline in their numbers since the first European settlers arrived in Africa – they saw the rhinoceros as pests and were determined to exterminate the species. Rhinos have since become victims of poaching as their ground up horns are coveted in traditional Asian medicine. Between 1970 and 1992, 96 percent of black rhinos were killed. Due to conservation efforts, the species began to recover by 2008 but poaching still remains out of control due to political instability, severe poverty and black market demand. In 2014, 21 percent more rhinos were poached in South Africa than the previous year. It is estimated that there are now less than 5000 black rhinoceros left in the world. In a highly controversial move, since 2012 the government of Namibia has been auctioning off the ‘opportunity’ to shoot and kill a black rhinoceros in the wild – in 2015 a game hunter paid $350,000 for the privilege. They claim to allow the highest bidder to only shoot an old rhino and that the money raised goes towards rhinoceros conservation efforts and protection against poaching.

Black Rhinoceros mammal 01 Diceros bicornis - ExtinctionBlack Rhinoceros mammal 02 Diceros bicornis - Extinction

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