Eastern black rhinoceros in exhibit

Eastern Black Rhinoceros

Scientific Name

Diceros bicornis michaeli

Class

Mammalia

Order

Perissodactyla

Range

Eastern Africa

Habitat

Transitional zones between grasslands and forests

Estimated Wild Population

n/a
Eastern black rhino in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Critically Endangered IUCN Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

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Physical Description

Eastern black rhinoceroses stand up to five feet high at the shoulder, span 12 feet in length, weigh up to 3,000 pounds, and have two fibrous keratin horns. As a herbivorous browser, black rhinos primarily eat leafy plants, branches, shoots, thorny wood bushes, and fruit. Their skin harbors many external parasites, which are eaten by tickbirds and egrets that from a symbiotic relationship with the rhinos. Mating is non-seasonal and gestation lasts 15–16 months, after which a single calf is born. Newborns weigh about 75 pounds and are active soon after birth.

Interesting Fact 1

Despite their name, black rhinoceroses are closer to gray. They were named "black" as a juxtaposition to white rhinoceroses.

Interesting Fact 2

Their horn is used to make daggers and traditional medicine, which has led to rampant overhunting and a sharp decline in the wild population. In order to protect the species, the trade of their horns is now prohibited by international law.

Interesting Fact 3

Rhinos are notoriously difficult to breed at zoos, but a hormone-monitoring technique developed by Lincoln Park Zoo scientists has led to the birth of two calves since 2013.

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Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

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Saving Animals From Exctinction

AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction focuses the collective expertise within AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and leverages their audiences to save species.

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Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

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Wish List

The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy. 

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Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

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