Who Am I?
You can call me Diceros bicornis, which means "two-horned". My brethren and I are among the two rhino species who call Africa our home, while the Greater one-horned rhinoceros, Javan rhinoceros and Sumatran rhinoceros are my distant cousins from Asia. By the way, don't let our names fool you - we are not black or white but a proud array of shades from brown to gray.
What sets me apart from my cousin, the white rhino, is my pointed upper lip, which is perfect for browsing trees and shrubs. When fully grown, I stand about 1.8 meters high and stretch 3.75 meters long. Quite an impressive size, don't you think? And oh, my horns! The front one measures between 0.5 and 1.3 meters, with the rear one slightly smaller at around 55cm.
What Do I Do?
I'm a rather solitary creature, primarily feeding on leaves, twigs, and branches. Occasionally, I indulge in some tasty fruits and succulent plants. Males like myself communicate through urine spraying and dung piles, while females become fiercely protective of their young, showing a tender side to our otherwise tough exterior.
Where Do I Live?
Once upon a time, we roamed freely throughout sub-Saharan Africa. But sadly, due to habitat loss and ruthless poaching, we're now confined to patches of bushland, grassland, and savannah in eastern and southern Africa.
What Makes Me Special?
I may have poor eyesight, but don't underestimate me! My sense of smell is keen, and my hearing is sharp. Plus, I can sprint up to 55 km/h when I need to. I even have little bird friends, oxpeckers, who keep my skin tick-free and alert me to potential danger.
You might find it amusing, but when I'm excited or agitated, my tail shoots straight up! Unlike my white rhino cousins who curl theirs in.
Why Am I in Danger?
Our beautiful horns, which should be our pride, have become our curse. Poachers, driven by the demand for rhino horns, especially in Asia, have decimated our population. We plummeted from a healthy 65,000 in 1970 to a mere 2,300 by 1993. A 96% drop in just over 20 years! But we're fighting back, and thanks to the incredible efforts of humans who care, we are now over 6,000 strong.
How Can You Help?
We've found allies in Hansie en Grietjie, who are committed to raising awareness about the urgency of protecting species like me from extinction. Every pair of their Black Rhino socks you buy supports the Rhino Orphanage in rescuing and rehabilitating my kin orphaned by illegal poaching. Your support can make a difference!
So there you have it, my story from the plains of Africa. By standing together, we can ensure a brighter future for all inhabitants of this shared home we call Earth. Remember, it's not just about me, the Black Rhino, it's about preserving our world's unique biodiversity. Let's do this together!