SADC Regional Programme for Rhino Conservation
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The white rhino
The white rhino

The white rhino (Ceratotherium simum)used to have a range discontinuous and across a smaller area than the black rhino, because this species lives in grasslands and savannah woodlands. The white rhino is also called square-lipped rhino, because of the shape of its mouthpiece adapted to its grazing habitat.

Two subspecies are recognised: the northern white rhino (C. s. cottoni), which survives in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo; and the southern white rhino (C. s. simum), which used to range across much of southern Africa . The SADC Rhino Conservation Programme targets only the southern sub-species.

In 1895 only 20 animals of  the southern white rhino were left as a result of intensive hunting and the reclamation of land for agriculture. This small population was in the Umfolozi area in South Africa .

Since then, due to intensive management and protection and the development of techniques for successful translocation of rhino to set up additional populations, numbers have climbed back to over 10,000 (over 11,000 including all the southern white rhino in captivity) as a result of one of the few conservation success stories. Populations were gradually re-established through translocation in other sites in South Africa and hence in other countries.the Far East and in the Gulf, but is also linked to a complex set of factors among which poverty in Africa plays a major role.

94% of the present wild population lives in South Africa . Smaller populations also exist in Botswana , Namibia , Swaziland , Zambia and Zimbabwe . Reintroductions in Mozambique and Angola failed. SADC  range states account for 98% of the present population of the southern sub-species (the populations in Kenya and Ivory Coast are out of range).  

Distribution of the two white rhino subspecies:

The distribution map is produced by AfRSG:  for security reasons and to protect the wishes of some range states, distribution
maps showing names and location of individual populations are not produced.