Scientific name: Diceros bicornis (Linnaeus, 1758)
IUCN Status: Critically Endangered listed by IUCN in 1996 and reassess in 2020 (Emslie and Adcock, 2016).
Population: Estimated population of 5,495 individual Rhino reported by Emslie et al. (2019) in 2017, and by 2018; as reported by Knight (2019) there was 5, 630 estimated population (Emslie and Adcock, 2016).
Distribution: Extant in Angola, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South –Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. They are extinct in the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Togo, Congo, Ethiopia, Niger, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Ugandan (Emslie and Adcock, 2016).
Re-Introduced: Botswana, Malawi, Rwanda, and Zambia (Emslie and Adcock, 2016).
The Rhino is classified into two families: Black Rhino and White Rhino, native to Africa. The name Dicros was derived from the Greek word: “Di”: means two, “ceros” means horn (Pilgrim and Biddle, 2008)
There are four (4) recognized Black Rhinoceros Sub-species (Moodley et al., 2016: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 2020), and they are:
D. bicornis bicornis (South-West Africa Rhino (Moodley et al., (2016)): They are known to roam Namibia, Southern Angola, Western Botswana, and southeastern South Africa. They currently have a growing number in Namibia and unconfirmed report in South Africa (Emslie and Adcock, 2016).
D. bicornis longipes (West African Rhino (Moodley et al., (2016)): declare Extinct in last know location in Cameroon in 2011, and once range the central- West Africa which includes Nigeria (Emslie and Adcock, 2016).
D. bicornis michaeli (East Africa Rhino; Moodley et al. 2016): They are known to be distributed from South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, North central Tanzania and Rwanda. They have good population in Kenya and Tanzania. They are reported to be the subspecies that was once extinct in Namibia in 1995 by poaching (Moodley et al., 2017). They are reported to be critically endangered with just about 631 individuals in Kenya (species stronghold) reported by Pilgrim and Biddle (2008)
D. bicornis minor (South-central Africa Rhino; Moodley et al. 2016): they are known to occur from Southern Tanzania through Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique to South Africa. They have a growing population in South Africa (Emslie and Adcock, 2016). They are critically endangered (Nhleko et al., 2017)
Black Rhinos are reported to have poor eyesight and may not be able to sight properly object more than 30 m away, but they have a good sense of hearing and smelling (Adcock and Amin, 2006: Pilgrim and Biddle, 2008). The rate of decline of this species in recent times is faster than any large terrestrial mammals.
They are habituated wide range of habitats such as forest, bush, plain, and desert (Ritchie, 1962) and prefer an area that is within 25 km of water ((Pilgrim and Biddle, 2008).
They are monogastric animals and they have a similar digestive system to horses. Plant fiber (Claus and Hatt, 2006), Legumes, and Acacia (Nowak, 1999) are their favorite diet (Pilgrim and Biddle, 2008).
She has a gestation period between 460- 540 days and usually gives birth to a single Calf (Ritchie, 1962, Pilgrim and Biddle, 2008).
Black Rhinos are known to be a very aggressive animal, capable of charging easily when threatened (Wikipedia). They are known to be more active during the night time (SaveTheRhino) and display a characteristic urine scent marking to make know their territory (SaveTheRhino). Rhinos are solitary animals and their calf lives with her mother till age three (3) (National Geography). 5,500 species of Black Rhinos are said to be available in the wild, with half of the population in Namibia. Namibia may allow five male rhinos to be killed every year (Rhinos)
Treat to this species includes:
Poaching (Rhino horn cost $65,000 per gram as reported by Moodley et al. (2016)), hence, the huge price on Rhino makes it a target for poachers
Parasite and stress: In a study by Otiende et al. (2015), parasite such as Piroplasm which is transmitted by Thick have long been associated with wildlife animals and Rhino are not left out, however, as reported by (Otiende et al., 2015), stress induce disease, and animal translocation are a major cause of stress affecting Rhino (Otiende et al., 2015).
Habitat Destruction is another major threat facing Rhinos
WHAT IF, THE ANIMAL GO INTO EXTINCTION?
Rhinoceroses are ecosystem engineers, making a major impact on the ecosystem and helps the survival of other species. They contribute to species richness in their ecosystem.
A LOSS OF THIS SPECIES, MAY LEADS TROPHIC CASCADES (Everatt et al. 2016).
THE LOSS OF THE WEST AFRICA RHINOS MAKES OUR WILDLIFE ECOSYSTEM LOOKS LIKE A DESERT AND INDIRECTLY ADDS TO THE HABITAT DECLINE OF OTHER SPECIES.
PLEASE SAVE OUR RHINOS
Moodley, Y., Russo, I.M., Dalton, D.L., Kotzé, A., Muya, S., Haubensak, P., Bálint, B., Munimanda, G.K., Deimel, C., Setzer, A., Dicks, K., Straschil, B.H., Kalthoff, D., Siegismund, H.R., Robovský, J., Donoghue, P. and Bruford, M. (2016). Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/srep41417
Otiende, M.Y., Kivata, M.W., Makumi, J.N., Mutinda, M.N., Okun, D., Obanda, V., Gakuya, F., Mijele, D., Soriguer, R.C. and Alasaad, S., Kariuki, L. (2015). Epidemiology of Theileria bicornis among black and white rhinoceros metapopulation in Kenya. BMC Veterinary Research. 11:4. DOI 10.1186/s12917-014-0316-2
Claus, M and Hatt, J. M. (2006). The feeding of rhinoceros in captivity’, International Zoo Yearbook 40, pp 197-209.
Emslie, R. H. and Adcock, K. (2016). A conservation assessment of Diceros bicornis. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.
Everatt, K.T., Andresen, L., Ripple, W. J., Kerley, G. I. (2016). Rhino poaching may cause atypical trophic cascades. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14:65–67
Knight, M.H. (2019). African Rhino Specialist Group report. Pachyderm 60: 14–39.
IUCN. 2020. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2020-1. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 19 March 2020).
Nhleko, Z. N., Parker, D. M. and Druce, D.J. (2017). The reproductive success of black rhinoceroses in the Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, KOEDOE – African Protected Area Conservation and Science. ISSN: 2071-0771
Pilgrim, M. and Biddle, R. (2008). EAZA Best Practice Guidelines Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), MBiol Science NEZS Chester Zoo