Black rhinos in Ngorongoro crater : Ngorongoro Crater is one of the premier attractions in Africa, a world-renowned wonder and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ngorongoro crater is the main attraction or feature in Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The crater is the largest unbroken volcanic caldera in the world created two to three million years ago when a large volcano exploded and collapsed into itself creating a nature amphitheatre.

Black rhinos in Ngorongoro crater

Ngorongoro Crater is 2,000 ft deep and 260 square kilometers in width.

Ngorongoro crater is situated in the Northern region of Tanzania in the Northern Tanzania Safari circuit, approximately 153 kilometers west of Arusha Town – the safari capital of Tanzania.

Ngorongoro Crater is home to over 30,000 animals including the endangered black rhinos, these beautiful animals were once found in most parts of the sub-Saharan Africa but currently they are near extinction due to the extreme hunting. The black rhinos are native species to Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Tanzania.

Rhinos belong to the family of Rhinocerotidae and they are divided into different species with three different sub-species declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Locally in Swahili language, rhinos are referred to as Kifaru.

Rhinos are categorized into two types that is black and white rhinos, these rhinos are all grey in color and are classified basing on their lip shape and not in color. The white rhinos have square upper lip while the black rhinos have pointed or hooked lip, the difference in the lip shape of the rhino is related to their diet. Black rhinos are browsers feeding on trees, bushes and they use their lips to pluck leaves and fruits from tree branches while the White rhinos, graze on grass and they are noticed to walk with their heads and squared lips lowered to the ground.

The black rhinos have two horns with the foremost horn being more prominent than the other, the rhino’s horn grows to 3 inches a year and they known to grow up to 5 feet long. The rhinos use these horns for protection, female rhinos use the horns to protect their young ones and males use them during battles.

In size, black rhinos are relatively smaller compared to the other two African rhino species. Black rhinos are divided into subspecies that area

Southern black rhinos

Southern black rhinos are extinct black rhinos, before they became extinct, they were once found in Cape of Good Hope, Transvaal, South Africa and South of Namibia.

North-eastern black rhinos

The North-Eastern black rhinos were formerly found in Central Sudan, Eritrea, Northern and Southern Ethiopia, Djibouti and Northern and Southeastern Somalia.

Chobe black rhinos

Chone black rhinos are local species of black rhinos restricted to Southeastern Angola in Chobe Valley, the Zambezi region in Namibia and Northern Botswana. These rhinos are near extinction with only one rhino found in Botswana.

Uganda black rhinos

The Uganda black rhinos are considered extinct species once found in South Sudan, Uganda, Western Kenya and Southwestern Ethiopia.

Black rhinos in Ngorongoro crater
Black rhino At Ziwa Sanctuary

Western black rhinos

The Western black rhinos are extinct species of black rhinos as declared by IUCN, these black rhinos were once found in South Sudan, Northern Central African Republic, Southern Chad, Northern Cameroon, Northeastern Nigeria and South-eastern Niger.

Eastern black rhinos

The Eastern black rhinos were once found in South Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and North-Central Tanzania. Currently, they are limited to only Kenya and Tanzania.

South-central black rhinos

The South- Central black rhinos are found in North-Eastern south Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Zambia, north eastern Tanzania and South eastern Kenya. These rhinos are characterized of proportionally large head and prominent skin folds.

South-western black rhinos

These rhinos are original inhabitants of North – western Namibia and Southwestern Angola and they have adapted to surviving in the desert and semi-desert conditions.

Ngorongoro Crater which is part of Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of the few areas hosting the few remaining population of black rhinos in Africa as well as Tanzania.  Once Ngorongoro crater hosted over 100 black rhinos recorded, however between 1965 and 1980s, the populations reduced due to poaching. When the area was designated as a protected area, maximum measures to protect the rhinos were put in place by The Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA). This led to a gradual increase in the population of the rhinos to 26 black rhinos present in the crater today.

The black rhinos live in the most regions of the crater and they are commonly seen in the region east of Leria Forest especially in the area between Lerai and Gorigor Swamp. These rhinos normally spend the night in the Lerai forest and in the morning, they scatter to the other regions in the crater.

The best time to get the black rhinos in Ngorongoro Crater is during an early morning game drive before they scatter off to feed.

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