Northern white rhinoceros



With only 4 individuals remaining, the survival prospects for the northern white rhino seem bleak.
 / ©: National Geographic Stock / Michael Nichols / WWF
© National Geographic Stock / Michael Nichols / WWF
Northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), Garamba National Park, Democratic Republic ... rel=
Northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), Garamba National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo.
© Kes & Fraser Smith / WWF

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Key facts

  • Common Names

    Northern white rhinoceros; Rhinocéros blanc du Nord (Fr); Rinoceronte (Sp)

  • Scientific Name

    Ceratotherium simum cottoni

  • Location

    Kenya conservancy and zoos

  • Status

    Critically Endangered

  • Population

    3 in Kenya and 1 in a zoo in USA

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Still hanging on?

Previous population & distribution
The northern white rhinoceros once occurred in southern Chad, the Central African Republic, southwestern Sudan, northeastern Zaire, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and northwestern Uganda. As late as 1960, there were more than 2,000 northern white rhinos remaining.

However, widespread poaching decimated the population and in 1984 only about 15 individuals survived, all in Garamba National Park, DRC.

Under a strict regime of protection in Garamba National Park and through the intervention of the World Heritage Committee, IUCN, WWF, the Frankfürt Zoological Society and the Congolese government, this popuation increased to a minimum of 30 animals by 1993. 

However, an intensive aerial survey of the park carried out in July 2004 counted a minimum population of just 17-22 animals. And poaching subsequently emptied the park of all its remaining rhinos.

Current population & distribution
Today only 4 northern white rhinos exist. Three of them live on a conservancy in Kenya, while the other one lives in a zoo in the USA.

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