BLACK RHINO – THE MOST ENDANGERED SPECIES
Black Rhino – The most Endangered Species : When talking about wildlife tourism, you cannot skip mentioning the name Tanzania which is located on the Eastern Side of Africa along the Indian Ocean. With the largest population of wild animals in East Africa and among the leading in Africa, Tanzania has every kind of wild animal including the species which are most endangered such as the black rhino, African wild dog, and some bird species. Tanzania is also famous for being the only country where the largest mammal migration takes place, the Great Wildebeest Great Migration. Tanzania also is the best place for viewing all the Big Five animals; lion, leopard, black rhino, elephant, and Cape buffalo, whereas some of them might even be found on a single National Park.
Black rhino is one of the Big Five encountered by most visitors in Tanzanian National Parks especially the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tarangire National Park, and in rare cases in the Nyerere National Park. It is also the second heavier animal from the African elephant with an average weight of 800 to 1800kg. Being the most endangered species in Africa, the black rhino is frequently encountered in almost four national parks out of seventeen. It is the smallest fraction as compared to other animals, but you will enjoy visiting Tanzania in case you want to explore the black rhino.
The black rhino is coined as a ‘living fossil’ probably because it is one of the oldest living mammals on earth. The reports show that its population has been declining from century to century mainly due to poaching and expansion of human settlement. The Tanzanian authorities noticed this extinction of the black rhino population. In order to ensure that, wildlife tourists enjoy the scenes of this beautiful mammal, the government stopped any hunting process on black rhino. In addition, nine black rhinos were flown from South Africa in 2019 and relocated into the Serengeti national park to increase the rhino’s declining population. Several national parks one of them being Mkomazi, constructed Rhino Sanctuary where black rhinos under high security from poachers and predators have been allowed to breed. The young ones are reintroduced into the wilderness. Therefore, you don’t have to doubt about spotting this incredibly large mammal.
The black rhino is one of two rhino species commonly found in Africa. It distinguishes itself from the White rhino in that; it has a hooked lip while the white rhino has a square lip. You may expect to see it with black color as its name suggests but it is not so. Its color is between grey and brown. The name black came after the misinterpretation of white rhino. So it was named black to distinguish it from the other species, white rhino. The word white was misinterpreted from the Western Germanic word ‘wait’ which means wide. Black rhinos are very less social such that they always live in small families usually two of them; the mother rhino and her young one. You have to keep your eye out for shrubs because black rhinos tend to camouflage themselves in shrubs and dense vegetation. They have good ear sense which makes them able to sense any predator approaching. Therefore, a sound from several miles away can be detected by the black rhino. A female rhino is larger than a male rhino. However, unlike men and other animals, the male black rhino sleeps for long hours than the female. They also migrate from one place to another within a short distance. Their migration is greatly caused by the sake of food and water. Now, let’s take deep dive into the Serengeti and other parks where the black rhino is found.
A promising place for viewing it is in the Ngorongoro Crater. It is estimated that about 20 black rhinos are present in this world’s ancient intact caldera. Short grass on the crater’s floor makes it clearly visible for an observer to see. The black rhino is dangerous when annoyed and it does not like an interruption in its territory. So, the best way you can view it is by a game drive. In rare cases, they are very aggressive but the armed ranger is not always to shoot it because doing so would decrease their number severely. You will have to stay in the car.
In the Serengeti, over 50 black rhinos are present in these ‘endless’ plains. Some areas within the Serengeti are protected for black rhinos around the Moru Kopjes and in the northern part of the park. With an excellent guide which is given by the tour operators in Tanzania, you can be luckier to spot this most endangered animal species in the world. On a game drive, your tour guide and driver are aware of locations where the black rhino is frequently seen. So he will drive to that location quietly. Using binoculars, you will spot them at a far distance. You can also tell the driver to move to that location.
Black rhinos are also rarely spotted in the Tarangire and Nyerere National Parks. In these parks, the expectations are very minimal. And it is commonly found in very remote areas some of which are impassable to tourists. Most visitors encounter with unexpectedly while viewing other nature and wild animals. You should not have huge expectations of seeing a black rhino in these two parks.
You will agree with me that Tanzania is a superb destination for viewing and exploring black rhinos in Africa. Tanzania has made it possible for you to spot these pre-historic creatures which are vulnerable to extinction like the dinosaurs. But there is hope in various countries like Tanzania where interventions by the government have been taken in order to restore the population of such critically endangered species. A trip to Tanzania parks especially the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater will make you a hero to capture an original photo of the black rhino.