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Black rhinoceros

Diceros bicornis

PZ Misc 09 04 21 AD LR 41 1
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 lucerne, fresh browse 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 and have a much flatter, square-shaped lip.
  • Rhino horn is 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 be around only 5,000 individuals.

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