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Ensuring the survival of the wild Black Rhinoceros is a battle against poaching. South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya collectively have most black rhinos (95.7 per cent). While the overall population has been slowly growing since 1995, in Zimbabwe they have declined alarmingly since 2007, dropping from 546 to 432 in 2009.

Black Rhinoceros with calf

The illegal rhino horn trade in Asia is worsening and is the single biggest threat to the Black Rhino. Poachers have swapped spears and snares for more lethal firearms and governments in the countries known to receive horn need greater commitment to preventing illegal trafficking. 

The increase in Black Rhino numbers in the other African countries is largely due to investment in field conservation, including protection, monitoring and translocations to maintain the growth rate of established populations and to create additional populations with good security and growth prospects.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo imported six Black Rhinos from Zimbabwe in 1994 for a zoo-based breeding program, as part of an initiative by the International Rhino Foundation. Since that time Taronga Western Plains Zoo has bred 11 Black Rhinos.  In 2010 the first second-generation calf, descended from the zoo-bred rhinos, was born.