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Black Rhino Conservation

Scientific name: Diceros bicornis

IUCN Status: Critically Endangered (at extremely high risk of extinction in the wild)

CITES: Appendix I (international commercial trade banned)

Habitat: Savanna, shrubland and desert

Once the most numerous and widespread rhino species, black rhino numbers fell from several hundred thousand in the 20th century to a mere 2,500 by the early 1990s. Numbers have since increased to about 3,600 in 2004.

Dramatic population declines were driven by incessant hunting and habitat destruction through land clearing for agriculture and human settlement. Main threats faced by the black rhino today include continued habitat destruction and poaching for the international trade in rhino horn; for traditional use in Chinese medicine and for ornamental use in other Asian and Middle East countries.

Conservation efforts continue to focus on (compiled from IUCN Redlist of threatened species):

  1. Prohibition of all international commercial trade in black rhinos and their products.
    Black rhinos have been listed on CITES Appendix I since 1977;

  2. Effective field protection of rhino populations continues to be critical.
    Many remaining rhino are now concentrated in fenced sanctuaries, conservancies, rhino conservation areas and intensive protection zones where law enforcement effort can be concentrated at effective levels;

  3. Monitoring provides information to guide biological management decision-making aimed at managing rhino populations for rapid population growth;

  4. Increasing efforts are also being made to integrate local communities into conservation efforts.

The Selous Rhino Trust is working to increase black rhino numbers in the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania.

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Conservation Safaris
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