Category Archives: Endangered Spotlight

Endangered Spotlight: Black Rhinoceros

Black rhinoceros / Diceros bicornis
Current conservation status: Critically endangered
Population (as of 2015): 5,000-5,500

Yoky / Wikimedia Commons

Our bags are named after endangered animals to bring attention to their struggles. The Black Rhino Laptop Bag was named after the resilient animal that was once hunted to the brink of extinction but has been making a steady recovery.

About

Despite being called the black rhinoceros, these creatures are far from being black in color but rather they are light to dark grey like their counterpart, the white rhinoceros. The one major difference between the two species is actually the shape of their upper lip. While white rhinos are more square-lipped, black rhinos have a hook lip to help them with their browsing feeding habits.

The black rhino is a critically endangered species native to eastern and southern Africa with eight recognized subspecies, of which three have already been driven to extinction. They were first listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 1986 as Endangered, but have been classified as Critically Endangered since 1996. Between 1970 and 1992, the black rhino population was decimated by illegal poaching and the rhino horn trade as the number of black rhinos remaining in the wild fell below 2,400. However, laws and conservation efforts have helped to steadily increase the population to between 5,000 to 5,400.

Threats

  • Poaching – Because rhino horns have been highly sought after as jewelry, medicine and decorative pieces, the high price they fetch also attract interested poachers.
  • Habitat loss – As humans move into the black rhinos’ natural environment, the animals are pushed out and are more susceptible to potential poachers.

Conservation Efforts

  • Protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix I
  • Local legislation to combat illegal rhino horn trades
  • Rhinos are kept under strict supervision in sanctuaries and conservancies.

What You Can Do

As long as there is a black market for rhino horns, it is impossible to stop the sale of existing poached rhino horns, but there are many global organizations dedicated to preserving rhinos and their natural habitats. These groups appreciate donations, but if you would like to become directly involved, volunteering is another great option.

Brocken Inaglory / Wikimedia Commons