Black rhinoceros were once found over an enormous range throughout sub-Saharan Africa living in deserts, mountains, grasslands, and forests. Written accounts by explorers before the turn of the 20th century relate frequent encounters with plentiful numbers of black rhinos.
Today, black rhino populations hover around 5,600. Rhinos are poached for their horns, for non-substantiated medicinal or decorative purposes. The rhino’s horn is composed of keratin, the same fibers that make up hair and fingernails, which they use to defend their territories from other rhinos and as protection from predators.
The black rhino is a browser and eats twigs, branches, and leaves and utilizes a specially adapted “hook lip” to strip them from the trees and shrubs from which it feeds. The black rhino are often loners, as they move between water sources and feeding areas, leaving dung piles and spraying their urine as “signposts” for other rhinos.
To address the continuing global rhino crisis, the International Rhino Foundation implements conservation projects for the five remaining species of rhinos in Africa and Asia. While the black rhino is by no means secure, the wild population is again increasing and we are encouraged that our efforts to protect this magnificent species have begun to see positive results.