In the 20th century, there were more black rhinos than any other type of rhino; perhaps as many as one million, per Britannica. Between 1960 and 1995, the world's black rhino population experienced a dramatic reduction of 98 percent, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The black rhino received the IUCN Red List status critically endangered in 1996, and is still critically endangered today. The biggest threat to black rhinos is the illegal wildlife trade of rhino horns.
"You've got to imagine an animal walking around with a gold horn; That's what you're looking at, that's the value and that's why you need incredibly high security," Simon Stuart, former Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, told the BBC in 2011, when the organization declared the subspecies western black rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) extinct.
The IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG) does not release specific location information for surviving populations to protect black rhinos.
Thanks to anti-poaching efforts, black rhino populations are slowly increasing. In 2022, IUCN counted 6,487 black rhinos, a 4.2 percent increase from 2021.
"With this good news, we can take a sigh of relief for the first time in a decade. However, it is imperative to further consolidate and build upon this positive development and not drop our guard,” AfRSG chair Michael Knight said in a press release.