The black rhinoceros is a species of rhinoceros, that is native to Africa including Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Although the rhinoceros is referred to as black, its colors vary from brown to grey.Black rhinos are smaller than white rhinos, and have less of a pronounced hump on the back of their necks. Black rhinos live up to 30-35 years in the wild and 35-45+ years in captivity.
Mating and courtship are very similar to that of the white rhino. Upon sensing that a female is in oestrus, a bull will approach the female. When the female has accepted his presence, she will cock her tail ready for mating. Copulation usually lasts around half an hour, but pairs may stay together for up to 30 days. Females reach sexual maturity and may have their first calf at 3.5- 4 years old. The gestation period of a black rhino is 15-17 months, and when a female is preparing to calve, she will find a solitary, sheltered spot to give birth.
The species is distinguished from the white rhino by a prehensile upper lip (hence the alternative name of hook-lipped rhino), which it uses to feed on twigs of woody plants and a variety of herbaceous plants. The shape of the horn differs between sexes: with males tending to have thicker horns, and the females often longer and thinner ones. The front horn is longer than the rear which makes them lucrative targets for the illegal trade in rhino horn. Between 1970 and 1992, 96 percent of Africa's remaining black rhinos were killed. Today, black rhinos remain Critically Endangered because of rising demand for rhino horn, which has driven poaching to record levels.
The black rhinoceros is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List and is listed on Appendix I of CITES. Habitat changes have contributed to population declines, but this is a secondary threat compared to poaching. Powdered horn is used in traditional Asian medicine as a supposed cure for a range of illnesses from hangovers to fevers and even cancer.