21 September 2022

Africa: New rhino population estimates released!

According to a report to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) African and Asian Rhino Specialist Groups, the total rhino population worldwide was estimated to be 26,272 as of 31 December 2021. Africa conserved an estimated 22,137 rhinoceroses at the end of 2021*, which comprised 6,195 black and 15,942 white rhinoceroses. Namibia is home to 34.8% (2,156 out of 6,195) of the continental population of black rhino, followed by South Africa (33.2%; 2,056), Kenya (15.1%; 938) and Zimbabwe (9.9%; 616). For white rhinoceroses, South Africa is home to 81.3% (12,968 out of 15,942) of the continental population, followed by Namibia (7.7%; 1,234), Kenya (5.5%; 873) and Zimbabwe (2.6%; 417). However, the white rhinoceros’ population in South Africa declined from 15,625 at the end of 2017 to 12 968 at the end of 2021. Also worth noting is that rhinoceros’ populations of Botswana declined from 452 white and 50 black rhinoceroses respectively at the end of 2017 to 242 white and 23 black rhinoceroses at the end of 2021. Most black rhinoceroses (6,031) occur in wild (free) ranging conditions, and an estimated one-third of white rhinoceros (4,883) occur in intensive or semi-wild ranging conditions, mostly in South Africa.
In the period 2018 to 2021, 2,707 rhinoceros poaching incidents were recorded in Africa, of which 90% took place in South Africa.

* 218 black and 1,077 white rhinoceroses are in ex-situ collections, resulting in 23,432 African rhinoceroses worldwide at the end of 2021.

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