Kenya has two species of rhino

1)      White rhino

2)      Black rhino


Differentiating black and white rhino

The White or Square-lipped Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) is, after the elephant, the most massive remaining land animal in the world, along with the Indian Rhinoceros and the hippopotamus, which are of comparable size. It has an immense body and large head, a short neck and broad chest and weighs more than black rhino. This rhino can exceed 3,500 kg (7,700 lb), have a head-and-body length of 3.5–4.6 m (11–15 ft) and a shoulder height of 1.8–2 m (5.9–6.6 ft). The color of this animal can range from yellowish brown to slate grey.

White Rhinos have the distinctive flat broad mouth which is used for grazing while the black rhino who has hooked lips for browsing.

Another difference is their social life. White rhinos are more social and will be found in group of between 2-6 in open grasslands; while on the other hand; black rhino are solitary and prefer bushes. Also the white rhino walks with head facing the ground (probably grazing) while on the other hand, the black rhino walks with head held high (probably looking for fresh browse



Conservation status

Of the two rhinos, the black rhino is one of the world's most gravely endangered animals As recently as 1970 there were estimated to be 65,000 black rhinos in the wild but today, the current estimate is that as few as 3,100 in Africa according to Africa Rhino Specialist Group. In Kenya the numbers of black rhino dropped from an estimated 20,000 in the 1970s to less than 300 animals in the 1980s. Through various conservation initiatives, the remaining black rhino population has been protected from intense poaching and the current population in Kenya is estimated at 600.


Poaching for the horn has been, and continues to be, the major cause of the black rhino population decline Rhino conservation isn't helped by the poverty in Africa - rhino horns are highly valued in many parts of Asia because they are thought to have medicinal qualities, so the financial rewards for illegally selling rhino horn are huge. Another profitable outlet for rhino poachers is the Yemen, where rhino horn is used to make the handles on traditional daggers.


Through such conservation endeavours as the "National Save the Rhino Project" (1984), Kenya Rhino Rescue Project (KRRP, 1985) and the Conservation Strategy and Management Plan for the Black Rhinoceros (1993), the remaining black rhino population in Kenya has been protected from further poaching. The numbers of rhinos continue to increase within major sanctuaries, both KWS and the private sanctuaries, at an annual rate of 4-5%, while rhino numbers in the large and difficult areas have remained stable. This made Kenya's rhino management programme one of the most successful species rehabilitation projects in the World.


KWS has now adopted a new management plan for rhino conservation in Kenya. The broad goals are to enhance rapid population growth of the black rhino population through increased attention to biological management, in addition to law enforcement.

Specifically, the goal is to increase the black rhino numbers by at least 5% per annum and reach a confirmed total of 500 rhinos by 2005, 650 rhinos by 2010 and 1000 rhinos by 2020


To facilitate realization of these objectives, the programme has installed a database of rhino numbers and information. This will improve on monitoring of the rhinos, both for security and biological research and management. The rhino staff also trained on radio collar assemblage, radio tracking, use of Global Positioning System (GPS), receiver and rhino post release management

Fotogaléria: Rhinos