There are 5 species of rhino worldwide. In South Africa there are 2 main species – black rhino and white rhino, with subspecies of each.
Black rhinos have a pointed upper lip and weigh around a tonne. They live between 30-35 years in the wild. Females reach sexual maturity at 4-7 years old and males at 7-10 years old. The gestation period is 15-16 months with each female giving birth to a single calf every 2.5-4 years. The calf will stay with its mother up to 2 years. Although it is smaller than the white rhino, it makes up for what it lacks in size with attitude. Black rhinos are critically endangered with only 1915 individuals in South Africa in 2010.
Despite their different names, black and white rhinos are the same colour. However, white rhino have a wide, flat upper lip, a hump on their neck and are twice the size of a black rhino, weighing around 2 tonnes. They are, interestingly, more placcid than their smaller cousin, the black rhino. White rhino can live up to 45 years in the wild. Females mature at 7 years old, males at 10-12 years. Rhinos are territorial and males cannot breed until they have claimed their first territory. Gestation lasts around 16 months and a female will give birth to a single calf every 2-4 years. Young calves stay with their mothers until they are 2-3 years old.
Black Rhino Populations Timeline
1933: Only 2 breeding populations of black rhinos of around 110 individuals remained in Southern Africa.
1960: Estimated 100,000 black rhinos left in Africa.
1970: Estimated 65,000 black rhinos in Africa.
1970-1992: 96% of the black rhinos in Africa were killed.
1995: 2,410 black rhinos in Africa.
1997: 2,600 left.
1999: 2,800 remaining.
2001: 3,100 black rhinos left in Africa.
White Rhino Numbers
In 1895 white rhino were considered extinct throughout Africa but there was actually a small population of 20-50 animals in the Umfolozi region of South Africa. In 2010 the white rhino population was estimated at 18,796 rhinos.