The Black Rhino was once the most numerous of all the living rhino species. It ranged widely throughout sub-Saharan Africa, except for the Congo Basin and other areas of tropical forest. At one time the population would have been measured in hundreds of thousands – even in the early 1970s some 70,000 still roamed wild. This map depicts the approximate distribution of the five Black Rhino subspecies.
The distribution of the Black Rhino has contracted drastically over the past 50 years and the species is now extinct throughout much of its range. The population reached an all time low of 2410 in 1995. Since then numbers have increased steadily, predominantly in southern Africa, and the current population is estimated at 5,495.
This representation of the historical distribution of the Black Rhino is derived from a combination of two sources: circa 1500 from “New maps representing the historical and recent distribution of the African species of rhinoceros: Diceros bicornis, Ceratotherium simum and Ceratotherium cottoni, by Kees Rookmaker and Pierre-Olivier Antoine, published in Pachyderm No. 52 July–December 2012; and circa 1700 from “Status Survey and Consolidated Action Plan: African Rhino“, compiled by Richard Emslie and Martin Brookes, published in 1999 by the IUCN/SSC AfRSG.
Extant naturally occurring populations