The black rhinoceros is a species of rhinoceros that is native to a number of countries in eastern and southern Africa. Although the black rhinoceros has black in its name, in reality the rhino’s colours vary between brown and grey and are never truly black. Overall the species is classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, although the South-western black rhinoceros is only classified as Vulnerable. Currently three subspecies of black rhinoceros have been declared extinct.
Conservation efforts often revolve around preventing poaching of the animal as this has become a major problem in recent years. At the beginning of the 20th century it was estimated that there were hundreds of thousands of black rhinoceroses in Africa, this dropped down to an estimated 2,500 in the early 1990s.
The black rhinoceros is primarily poached for its horn which is often used in Eastern medicines. Rhinos have been a protected species since 1977 when all commercial trade in rhino horn was banned internationally. Despite this, a large black market has been in existence since then although efforts have been made to completely stop the trade. It is projected that the rhino population can recover.