Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) | WWF

Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)

Did you know?

  • The black rhino has a reputation for being extremely aggressive. They attack out of fear, confusion and panic. Due to their very poor eyesight they will charge if they sense a threat. They have even been observed to charge tree trunks and termite mounds.
  • Black rhinoceros are not very aggressive towards others of their species, usually only bluffing aggression.
  • A puffing snort is a common greeting when male and female rhinos encounter one another.
  • Rhinos have learned to fear humans. They exhibit defensive behaviour if the scent of humans is detected.
The black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), also colloquially black rhino, is a species of rhinoceros, native to the eastern and central areas of Africa.

Physical Description

An adult black rhinoceros:
  • stands 140–170cm high at the shoulder
  • is 3.3-3.6 m in length
  • weighs from 800 to 1400kg
  • The female is smaller than the male
  • Two horns on the skull are made of keratin with the larger front horn typically 50 cm long, exceptionally up to 140 cm


There are about 3,725 black rhino still left in the wild, but it has been estimated that there were about 70,000 in the late 1960s. The black rhino has seen the most drastic decline of all rhino species, because of poaching and habitat loss. But due to conservation efforts numbers are stabilizing and slowly rising, although tremendous effort is still needed to secure the future of the black rhino.

Black Rhino Conservation

WWF provides financial and technical support for the effective conservation of the Kenyan black rhino population. WWF is committed to improved security for the black rhino as a means of safe-guarding and stabilizing the numbers of black rhinos in Kenya.

WWF was instrumental in the development of the current Black Rhino Conservation Strategy and Management Plan for 2000-2005. WWF is further supporting the implementation of the Strategy, whose emphasis is the improvement of the biological management of the black rhinos in order to increase their numbers by at least 5% every year.

It is listed as critically endangered by IUCN.
	© WWF / Martin Harvey
A black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) in Zimbabwe.
© WWF / Martin Harvey



Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Donate to WWF

Your support will help us build a future where humans live in harmony with nature.

Enter Yes if you accept the terms and conditions
Enter Yes if you accept the terms and conditions