This rare black rhino stands in the savannah in grassland. It is staring directly into the camera. There is an incredible blue in the sky which patterns with soft hazy clouds. Behind this black rhino, you see an endless savannah as far as you can see. That is a male who is quite curious. Rhinos have poor eyesight, but their hearing is outstanding. Therefore, this black rhino had a closer look at us.
The name rhinoceros comes from Greek words: ‘rhino,’ meaning nose, and ‘ceros,’ meaning horn. You will often find birds sitting on the back of a black rhino. Most commonly, the oxpecker. Black rhinos allow them to sit on them because they have a symbiotic relationship. Which means they both benefit from each other. Indeed, the oxpecker will eat the parasites from a black rhino’s hide while the oxpeckers get a (questionably) tasty meal! We often observe this behavior on waterholes.
The populations of black rhino declined dramatically in the 20th century at the hands of European hunters and settlers. Between 1960 and 1995, black rhino numbers lowered by 98%, to less than 2,500 left in existence. Since then, the species has made an astounding comeback from the brink of extinction.
Thanks to determined conservation efforts across Africa, black rhino numbers have doubled to between 5,042 and 5,455 today.
The black rhino, Diceros bicornis, is critically endangered on the IUCN red list.