West African Black Rhinoceros Fact Sheet

Common Name:

West African Black Rhinoceros / Western Black Rhinoceros

Scientific Name:

Diceros bicornis longipes

Wild Status:



Savanna of Sub-saharan Africa


Cameroon, Western/Central Africa


Savannah Plains

Life Span:

35 - 50 years


10 - 12 feet long, 1700 - 3000 pounds

Cool Facts:

  • The Western Black Rhinoceros had a few unique features in this subspecies, including a square based horn.
  • As their population declined, poaching increased with value growing along with the rarity of the horns. 1 kg of horn could cost over $50,000
  • In addition to the horns uses for "medicinal purposes", they were also used in making ceremonial knife handles called "Janbiya".


The West African Black Rhinoceros was a subspecies of Black Rhinoceros, officially declared extinct in 2011. What was once a widespread species of Black Rhinoceros, population numbers began to drop fast due to excessive poaching for their horns. Many used to believe that their horns held special medicinal value, a belief that had no scientific data backing it up. The West African Black Rhinoceros were browsing herbivores and had a diet primarily consisting of leafy plants. It is believed that the species had completely died out about 5 years before they were officially declared extinct.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Perissodactyla Family: Rhinocerotidae Genus: Diceros Species: D. bicornis Subspecies: D. b. longipes

Conservation & Helping:

During the early 20th century, the Western Black Rhinoceros were heavily hunted for their horns. Between 1970 and 1992, there was a 96% decline in all species of black rhinoceros. Attempts were made at breeding them in captivity, and conservation to reduce poaching, however in 2011 this subspecies was officially declared extinct.

For Teachers and Educators


Keep Exploring Defenders!