Sixteen countries, 11 in Africa and 5 in Asia, are recognized as the “rhino range states.” The governments and institutions of these countries play, or should play, a primary role in rhino conservation and protection via their networks of national, provincial, and other parks, including anti-poaching strategies and operations, border security, and the legal system—law-making, enforcement, prosecution, and the sentencing of offenders. The rhino range states play essential roles in cooperation between other nations and their agencies as well as the IUCN, upholding international treaties such as CITES, initiatives such as TRAFFIC and Interpol, and negotiating overarching continental strategies.

The following interactive map shows the rhino populations for each of the rhino range states. It is difficult to arrive at an up-to-date accurate position regarding rhino numbers, as censuses are not conducted regularly by the individual countries or at set times. The base statistics are taken from the 2017 assessments of the African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG) and the Asian Rhino Specialist Group (AsRSG). In building a more recent overview of global rhino numbers, the assessments of The International Rhino Foundation’s (IRF) 2021 State of the Rhino Report have also been used, as well as other published sources.


Updated date: April 24, 2022
Range States map
GLOBAL TREND ↓ In 2019, the AfRSG and the AsRSG estimated the global rhino population (at the end of 2017) to be 27,296. However, in 2021, the IRF published the following updated continent-wide estimates (the Indian Rhino population was further updated in May 2022 following a census in India: White Rhino Trend ↓15,500 (Given the collapse of the prime Kruger National Park population it is improbable that the AfRSG end-2017 estimate of ~18,000 remains valid). Black Rhino Trend ↑ 5,600. Indian Rhino Trend ↑ 4,014. Javan Rhino Trend ↑75. Sumatran Rhino Trend ↓ 80. Global Rhino Population Trend ↓ 25,269. Although the global rhino population decreased by almost 4,600 from an estimated 29,899 at the end of 2012, this is entirely due to the significant decline in White Rhino numbers in South Africa. Elsewhere, in most instances, there has been an encouraging increase in populations, even for the Javan Rhino. The Sumatran Rhino, sadly, continues its decreasing trend.
SOUTH AFRICA Trend ↓ The AfRSG estimated the country’s total rhino population to be 17,671 at the end of 2017. However, this was based on an assessed White Rhino population of 15,625. As the White Rhino population for all of Africa is more likely to have been some 15,500 by the end of 2021, South Africa’s White Rhino population is probably between 12,000 and 13,000. With a Black Rhino population of little more than 2,000, South Africa’s total rhino population is unlikely to be more than about 15,000. (In 2014, the rate of poaching had reached a high of some four rhinos a day, far outstripping the rhinos’ reproductive capacity. The population crash that followed was inevitable. Find out more in “The Killing Fields.”)
NAMIBIA Trend ↑ The AfRSG estimated the country’s total rhino population to be 2,832 at the end of 2017. The White Rhino (975) and the Black Rhino (1,857) were both increasing. Namibia is the last remaining stronghold of the Southwestern Black Rhino Diceros bicornis bicornis that historically ranged across much of southern Africa. Possibly a few remain in southern Angola. Before 2013, poaching in Namibia was minimal, but from 2014 through 2017, there was an upsurge, and the country lost some 242 rhinos.
BOTSWANA Trend ↓ The AfRSG estimated the country’s total rhino population to be 502 at the end of 2017. This figure comprised 452 White Rhinos and 50 Black Rhinos. However, renewed poaching levels have recently seen Botswana’s rhinos under great threat for the second time. In the 1980s, Botswana experienced a complete collapse of its Black and White Rhino populations. By 1992 fewer than 19 White Rhinos remained in the wild, while the Black Rhino was classified as “Locally Extinct.” From the early 2000s, a collaboration between South Africa and Botswana, together with commitment from safari companies, saw a vigorous and successful translocation program that is now in disarray.
ESWATINI Trend ↓The AfRSG estimated the country’s total rhino population to be 87 at the end of 2017. The country’s White Rhino population had fallen to 66, while Black Rhino numbers, at 21, had increased slightly. The tiny kingdom’s wildlife was devastated by hunting and poaching in the 1960s but has since gone about restocking its reserves with vigor. Eswatini has strong, stringently applied wildlife laws and is a determined protagonist for a legal system for trading rhino horn.
ZIMBABWE Trend ↑ The AfRSG estimated the country’s total rhino population to be 887 at the end of 2017. White and Black Rhinos, at 367 and 520 respectively, were both on the increase. Zimbabwe’s rhinos were decimated from the mid-1980s through 1993 when the country lost more than 1,100 rhinos to poachers. After some respite, the country was again hit from 2006, and in 2008 alone, 164 rhinos were massacred. Since then, the situation has stabilized, and Zimbabwe’s rhinos are rising again.
ZAMBIA Trend ↑ The AfRSG estimated the country’s total rhino population to be 62 at the end of 2017, comprising 14 White Rhinos and 48 Black Rhinos. In the 1960s, Zambia was a stronghold of the Black Rhino, with a population of some 12,000. However, by 1995, the species was assumed to have been locally exterminated. Poaching was the primary cause. In 2003, a rhino reintroduction program began. Although out of their historical range, Southern White Rhinos were introduced in 1964, but after initial success, they fell to poachers. A second attempt began in 1994, but by 2008 only one male remained. Additional White Rhinos were subsequently translocated from South Africa, and this process has been more successful.
MOZAMBIQUE Trend ↑ The AfRSG estimated the country’s total rhino population to be 30 at the end of 2017. Black Rhinos had fallen to a single individual, but White Rhinos had increased to 29. Mozambique’s rhinos have been heavily depleted over the past decade or so. Before that, the country’s civil war exacted a devastating toll on the country’s wildlife as a whole. For the moment, the situation is showing some signs of stabilizing. Mozambique has also played a pivotal role in South Africa’s poaching crisis. Most of the rhinos killed in South Africa are poached in Kruger National Park, which shares a 356-kilometer, extremely porous border with Mozambique. The majority of the poaching “foot soldiers” are drawn from Mozambique, which is ranked as the second poorest country globally.
MALAWI Trend ↑ The AfRSG estimated the country’s total rhino population to be 28 at the end of 2017. In the early 1980s, there were still about 12-15 Black Rhinos in Malawi’s conservation areas. By 1990, however, these had all been lost to cross-border poaching from Zambia and Mozambique. In 1993, a pair of Southeastern Black Rhinos Diceros bicornis minor was translocated to Liwonde National Park. Further translocations took place in Liwonde. In 2003, Black Rhinos from South Africa were moved to Majete Wildlife Reserve in southwestern Malawi, an area devastated in the 1970s and 80s by human encroachment and poaching. The population has grown modestly from this modest rebirth.
TANZANIA Trend ↑ In 2017, the AfRSG estimated Tanzania’s total rhino population at 160. The country only has Black Rhinos. The Eastern Black Rhino Diceros bicornis michaeli was once abundant in the Serengeti system. Sadly, in common with almost all rhino range states, poaching and other human activities devastated the region’s rhinos, and in 2013 only 123 remained. In the Ngorongoro Crater, there were 108 rhinos in 1968, but these had dwindled to no more than 25 by 1977. Reintroduction programs were started in the 1990s, and by 2018 Ngorongoro’s rhinos had recovered to more than 50. Currently, Tanzania’s Eastern Black Rhinos number 155, and there is also a small population of five Southeastern Black Rhinos Diceros bicornis minor in the far south of the country.
KENYA Trend ↑ The AfRSG estimated the total rhino population for Kenya in 2017 at 1,258 (WR 513 and BR 745). However, a census in 2021 counted a total of 1,605 rhinos. Assuming the ratio between the two species has remained constant, this suggests an encouraging upward trend, with 642 White Rhinos and 963 Black Rhinos. In 1970 Kenya was home to about 20,000 Eastern Black Rhinos Diceros bicornis minor, but the scourge of poaching caused the population to crash to fewer than 280 individuals in the 1980s. Among the strategies used to overcome the problem was establishing well-guarded sanctuaries on private land. Kenya is now home to the third-highest rhino population in Africa after South Africa and Namibia.
UGANDA Trend ↑ The AfRSG estimated total rhino population for Uganda in 2017 was 22 White Rhino. Historically there were thriving populations of both the Eastern Black Rhino Diceros bicornis michaeli and the Northern White Rhino Ceratotherium simum cottoni in Uganda. However, by the 1960s, the populations had crashed to about 400 and 300, respectively. The situation became steadily worse, and the 1979 Liberation War saw the virtual extinction of the country’s White Rhinos—the last one was seen in 1982. The last Black Rhino was seen in 1983. In 2005 the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary was established, and four Southern White Rhinos Ceratotherium simum simum were moved there from Kenya, while another two were donated by Disney Animal Kingdom in the United States. From these few, the population has grown to 22, and there is a plan to reintroduce rhinos into Uganda’s national parks through a breed-and-release program.
RWANDA Trend ↑In the1970s, more than 50 Black Rhinos lived in Rwanda, but they were heavily poached, and the last sighting was in 2007. However, in 2017, the AfRSG estimated the total rhino population for Rwanda to be 22 Black Rhino. This included 19 Eastern Black Rhinos Diceros bicornis michaeli relocated that year from South Africa to Rwanda’s Akagera National Park. In June 2019, a further five Eastern Black Rhinos arrived in Rwanda from the Dvur Kralove Safari Park in the Chech Republic. Then, in November 2021, 30 Southern White Rhinos were successfully translocated from South Africa to Akagera in the largest-ever single translocation effort. By the end of 2021, Rwanda’s total rhino population had been restored to more than 50 individuals.
COTE D’IVOIRE Trend → At the end of 2017, Cote D’Ivoire had a single White Rhino. Although the country lies outside the species’ historical range, a small population of five Southern White Rhino Ceratotherium simum simum was established in a park in 1991. By 1995, the population had been reduced to four, and now only one remains. In May 2017, the sole survivor was moved to a place of safety in the country.
SENEGAL Trend → At the end of 2017, Senegal had a total population of three White Rhinos. Senegal is outside of the historical range of the species. However, a small population of Southern White Rhino Ceratotherium simum simum was introduced in the early 2000s, of which three remain.
INDIA Trend ↑ The AsRSG estimated the total Indian Rhino Rhinoceros unicornis population for India in 2017 to be 2,939. In 2022 a census showed increases in the key stronghold of Kaziranga National Park and other parks, with a total count of 3,262. The Indian Rhino once roamed in substantial numbers from Pakistan to the Indo-Burmese border and in parts of Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan. But by the beginning of the 20th century, only remnants remained in northern India and Nepal. After India gained independence in 1947, strict conservation laws were introduced. Over the intervening decades, India’s rhino population has climbed steadily.
NEPAL Trend ↑The AsRSG estimated the total Indian Rhino Rhinoceros unicornis population for Nepal in 2017 to be 649. However, a census in 2021 revealed an increase to 752 in the country. In 1950 the Indian Rhino population in Nepal’s Chitwan Valley numbered around 1,000 individuals. After 1950, eradicating malaria and the subsequent clearance of wildlife habitats for human settlements, agriculture, and urbanization took its toll. Wildlife populations plummeted, and in less than two decades, the rhino population fell to fewer than 100. In 1973 the remaining rhino habitats were consolidated into the Chitwan National Park. Numbers began to increase, and despite setbacks, notably heavy poaching during the Maoist Insurgency from 1996 to 2006, numbers have reached current levels. In recent years Nepal has achieved impressive success against poaching.
INDONESIA Trend → The AsRSG estimated the total rhino population for Indonesia in 2017 to be 146, comprising 68 Javan Rhino Rhinoceros sondaicus and 78 Sumatran Rhinos Dicerorhinus sumatrensis. In 2021, the International Rhino Federation set the populations at about 75 Javan Rhinos and about 80 Sumatran Rhinos. Indonesia is the last remaining refuge for both species. The remaining Javan subspecies Rhinoceros sondaicus sondaicus is restricted to one locality at the western tip of the Indonesian island of Java. Intense protection in recent years has seen this population stabilize and increase slightly. However, their survival remains tenuous owing to disease susceptibility, inbreeding depression as a result of the loss of genetic diversity, and volcanic activity—their current sanctuary lies in one of the most seismically active regions in the world. The smallest of the five living rhino species, the Sumatran Rhino, has fared no better. The Western Sumatran Rhino Dicerorhinus sumatrensis sumatrensis is confined to a few sanctuaries on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, while three survivors of the Eastern Sumatran Rhino D. s. harrissoni in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo.
MALAYSIA At the end of 2017 there were no Sumatran rhinos living in the wild on the Malaysian Peninsula or Sabah, the Malaysian province of the island of Borneo. The Javan Rhino was declared extinct in Malaysia in 2017.
Bhutan is a rhino range state but has no permanent rhino population despite joint efforts with India.
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Updated date: April 24, 2022