The black rhino was once widespread throughout Eastern and Southern Africa. Today, its habitat is limited to a handful of protected areas. The dramatic decline is due to the hunt for the sought-after rhino horn. This horn, which consists only of keratin, i.e. the same substance as our fingernails, is highly prized in traditional Chinese medicine.
Heavily armed rangers are now employed to protect the last rhinos by patrolling the protected areas. In some places, the rhinos have even been “dehorned” to protect them from poachers. However, such an intervention is always risky and must also be repeated several times, as the horn grows back. Nowadays, there are once again enough rhinos in some places that animals can be moved elsewhere.
"Taco" the black rhino – a real loner
The black rhino known as “Taco” lives in the oldest building in the zoo – the former elephant house. It was built back when the zoo was founded in the 1860s, and designed in the Moorish style.
Behind the thick armoured glass, "Taco" likes to show off his impressive horn and strong body.
System: Odd-toed ungulate
Gestation: 15-16 months
Body weight: 900 kg to 1350 kg
Distribution: southern Africa
Habitat: Scrub, savannah
Population in European Zoos: approx. 80
Population in the wild: approx. 3600, threatened with extinction
Food: leaves, plants