Return of the Rhino


Good news! Black rhinos have returned to Chad for the first time in 46 years. (Independent)

Use our resources to learn more about black rhinos.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit.

Black rhinoceroses once roamed throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Today, most are concentrated in South Africa (that’s where this mother and calf are) and its neighbors.
Photograph by Chris Johns, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas


  • The historic species range of the black rhino is eastern and southern Africa. (Here’s a nice map.) How did the species become extinct in Chad in less than 100 years? Read through our short reference article for some help.
    • poaching. The population of black rhinos plummeted more than 97% since 1960, largely due to illegal hunting. “Rhino horns are highly prized in some parts of Asia, particularly China and Vietnam, where they are used in traditional medicine. Although it is illegal to buy or sell black rhinoceros horns internationally, a thriving black market exists—and for a good reason. Rhino horns can be worth more than their weight in gold.”
    • conflict. Rhinos were collateral damage in the civil wars and other conflicts that beset Chad following independence from France in 1960. “The profit from the sale of a rhino horn is tempting in areas where civil unrest has led to increased poverty, rhino horns were traded for weapons, and, during periods of war and unrest, conservation and enforcement of wildlife laws is not a high government priority.”


  • How are conservationists and the Chadian government working to make sure the imported rhinos don’t encounter the same fate as the previous population?
    • rangers. Armed, empowered wildlife rangers are the most important defense against poachers. Zakouma National Park will now have a dedicated rhino ranger unit. Here’s a photo of the unit.
    • international organizations. The rhino reintroduction was done in partnership with African Parks, the nonprofit international organization that manages 13 national parks (including Zakouma) across eight countries. Learn more about the rhino return with their resources here.
    • medical support. For months, veterinarians in South Africa prepared the rhinos for their long flight and relocation by having them spend time in bomas, or small livestock enclosures. This helped the animals become accustomed to spending time in confined spaces. Veterinarians accompanied the sedated animals on the flight, and will continue to monitor them in their Chadian enclosures until they are acclimated to the new space.
    • community action programs. The reintroduction has involved education and outreach to local Chadian communities. Communities are an indispensable part of all conservation efforts.



  • How does the reintroduction of six individuals support overall rhino conservation?
    • The reintroduction establishes Chad as a stable, safe place for rhinos and, possibly, other threatened species.



Independent: Black rhinos return to Chad 50 years after poaching wiped them out

New York Times: Black Rhinos Roam Chad for the First Time in 46 Years

African Parks: The Return of the Rhino

Nat Geo: Photo Ark: Black Rhinoceros

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