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Black rhinoceros

Diceros bicornis

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IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Mammals
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Rhinocerotidae

At Paignton Zoo there are two black rhinos: female Sita and male Manyara.

The beautiful black rhino is native to the scrublands and grasslands of eastern and southern Africa. 98% of the total population is found in just 4 countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya. 

In the wild they eat leafy plants, branches, shoots and fruit. Our rhinos are fed a mix of fresh browse, lucerne and browser pellets.

Interesting facts!

  • As browsers, the black rhino’s prehensile pointed upper lip helps them to grasp their food. This is compared to white rhinos, that are grazers with a much flatter, square-shaped lip.
  • Rhino’s horns are made of keratin – the same substance as human fingernails!
  • This species can breed all-year round, and following a long gestation of 15 months a single calf is born.


There are five species of rhino, all of which are endangered, and only intensive management programmes in zoos and national parks will save them from extinction. The total number of black rhinos in the wild today is thought to only be around 5,000.

Our rhinos are part of the EAZA ex-situ breeding programme (EEP) for this Critically Endangered species.

Sponsor a black rhinoceros

Sponsoring a rhino at Paignton Zoo will make a real contribution to our vital conservation work for rhinos and other African species.

Our sponsorship packs make a fantastic gift for animal lovers of any age. Prices start from as little as £35 per year (that’s less than £3 a month!) with three different packs to choose from.

Book a rhino experience

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This once in a lifetime encounter will take you behind the scenes in our Rhino House with one of our knowledgeable keepers.

They will be able to tell you everything you want to know about these truly wonderful animals, before you get stuck in and help with feeding time!