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Rhinos in Africa

Population of Rhinos in Africa

African rhinos, known for their imposing stature and iconic horns, have a storied history in the vast landscapes of Africa. These remarkable herbivores, though occasionally seen in small groups, are primarily solitary creatures, preferring to roam alone through diverse habitats ranging from grasslands to dense forests.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Africa was home to approximately 100,000 rhinos, scattered across the continent. However, as the 20th century progressed, their numbers sharply declined due to relentless poaching and habitat loss. Today, the African rhino population stands at around 27,000 individuals, with most of them seeking refuge within the protected boundaries of national parks and reserves.

 

Among the African rhino species, the southern white rhino once believed to be extinct, has made a remarkable recovery in safeguarded sanctuaries and is now classified as “near threatened.” Conversely, the western black rhino and northern white rhino have tragically become extinct in the wild. The last two surviving northern white rhinos are under constant protection in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

Black rhinos have displayed signs of recovery in recent decades, with their numbers doubling from a low point of fewer than 2,500 individuals. However, their total population remains only a fraction of the estimated 100,000 that thrived in the early part of the 20th century. African rhinos still face grave threats, particularly from poaching for their horns and continued habitat loss and degradation.

Status

Near Threatened

Population

15 942

Scientific name

Ceratotherium simum

Height

1.5M - 1.8M

Weight

1 800 – 2 700 KG

Habitats

Long and short grass savanna areas in grasslands

Status

Critically Endangered

Population

6 195

Scientific name

Diceros Bicornis

Height

1.4M – 1.7M

Weight

800 – 1 350 KG

Habitats

Semi-Desert Savannah, Woodlands, Forests, Wetlands

The two African rhino species,

WHITE

(Ceratotherium simum)



BLACK

(Diceros bicornis)

are found in fifteen countries:

  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • Chad
  • DRC
  • Eswatini
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Rwanda
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Not all countries report population numbers or poaching data.

The African Rhino Specialist Group (AFRSG) of the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC) released a
report in 2022, The African and Asian Rhinoceroses – Status, Conservation and Trade , which estimates
there are currently:

22 137

rhinos in Africa

6 195

black rhinos

15 942

white rhinos

The overall number has decreased by 6%, from 23,562, since the last
Specialist Group report in 2017.

6%

Since 2017, there have been 2 707 recorded rhino poaching incidents in Africa, 90% of which took place in South Africa. During 2020, when governments implemented COVID mitigation measures, including lockdowns, there was a significant reduction in poaching – from 3.9% of the continental population in 2018 to 2.3% in 2021. Now that travel has reopened, poaching is on the rise again.

“Rhinos are among the most magnificent and ancient creatures on Earth, and it’s our duty to protect them for future generations.” – David Attenborough

Facts about the African Rhino

African rhinos are primarily divided into two species: the White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum) and the Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis).

One key distinction is their mouth shape. White Rhinos have broad, flat mouths for grazing on grass, while Black Rhinos have pointed mouths for browsing on leaves and bushes.

The primary threat to African rhinos is poaching for their horns, which are highly sought after on the black market for their supposed medicinal and ornamental properties.

African rhinos inhabit various countries across Africa, with different subspecies found in different regions. White Rhinos are more common in savannahs, while Black Rhinos are often found in a wider range of habitats, including forests and deserts.

African rhinos use various forms of communication, including vocalizations, body language, and scent marking. They can make a variety of sounds, such as grunts, snorts, and squeals, to convey different messages to other rhinos.

Conservation organizations, governments, and local communities are working together to protect African rhinos. This includes anti-poaching patrols, habitat preservation, and educational programs to raise awareness about rhino conservation. Some rhinos are also relocated to safer areas or kept in protected reserves to reduce their vulnerability to poaching.

Latest News

Find out all the latest news on the African Rhino including sightings and conservation efforts to protect the species.
Ambitious Plan to Rewild 2000 Rhinos in the Next Decade

As a species, the white rhino is under extreme pressure,...

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Northern White Rhino – Can science save the rhino from extinction?

There are only 7 northern white rhino left in the world and...

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Shamwari Group raise money for rhino conservation

Fighting backWith rhino poaching continuing to increase in South Africa,...

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