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Extinction Watch: How African Black Rhino came back from extinction


Despite their name, blackrhinosaren’t actually black — they’re grey. A group of rhinos is called a ‘crash’. The African Black Rhino remains Critically Endangered, but itspopulationis slowly increasing asconservationefforts counter the persistent threat of poaching, according toIUCN’supdateof the Red List of Threatened Species.

Between 2012 and 2018, the Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis) population across Africa has grown at a modest annual rate of 2.5% from an estimated 4,845 to 5,630 animals in the wild, respectively. Population models predict a further slow increase over the next five years, according to IUCN’s March 2020 update. Black rhinos have a ‘prehensile’, meaning hooked, lip for pulling leaves off branches. They are herbivores and eat leafy plants, branches, shoots, bushes and fruit. They eat up to 220 different plants! An adult black rhino weighs between 800 and 1,400 kilograms.

And as rhinos run on their toes, that’s a lot of weight to carry! Rhinos can reach speeds of up to 55kph. Black rhino can be very aggressive and will charge at anything that scares them. The biggest danger to rhinos is poaching, or being killed for their horn. Between 1960 and 1995, numbers dropped by a sobering 98%, to less than 2,500.

Rhinos are one of the oldest groups of mammals, virtually living fossils. They play an important role in their habitats and are an important source of income from ecotourism. The protection of black rhinos creates large blocks of land for conservation purposes. This benefits many other species, including elephants.

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