Rhino population figures

Rhino Population Map 2016


At the beginning of the 20th century there were 500,000 rhinos across Africa and Asia. This fell to 70,000 by 1970 and further to just 29,000 in the wild today. Despite this bleak picture, and the continuing threat of poaching for their valuable horns, global rhino population figures have been increasing in recent years.

Large-scale poaching of the now critically endangered black rhino resulted in a dramatic 96% decline from 65,000 individuals in 1970 to just 2,300 in 1993. Thanks to the persistent efforts of conservation programmes across Africa black rhino numbers have risen since the early 1990s to a current population of between 5,042 and 5,455 individuals.

The overwhelming rhino conservation success story is that of the southern white rhino. With numbers as low as 50 left in the wild in the early 1900s, this subspecies of rhino has now increased to between 19,682 and 21,077  and has become the most populous of all the rhino species. However the alarming increase in poaching since 2008 threatens to undermine the rhino conservation successes made in Africa over the last two decades.

In Asia the populations of Sumatran and Javan rhinos are extremely low and both species are listed as critically endangered. There are fewer than 100 Sumatran rhinos left in the wild, and efforts are now being invested in captive breeding in an attempt to boost the population. 

The Javan story is sadly even more shocking with an estimated 58 to 61 individuals left in a single population in Ujung Kulon National Park. Local conservationists, supported by Save the Rhino, are working hard to increase the habitat for this species since it is believed that the current habitat cannot support any more rhinos, and Rhino Protection Units have been set up to monitor and protect both the remaining Javan and Sumatran  rhinos.

Rhino population figures

Rhino species Population
White rhino

Between 19,682 and 21,077

Black rhino

Between 5,042 and 5,455
Greater one-horned rhino 3,500+
Sumatran rhino Less than 100
Javan rhino 58-61