The black rhinoceros has a fearsome reputation in Africa. Members of this endangered species, which can weigh more than 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg), can be very aggressive, and will charge at intruders without hesitation, reaching speeds of around 35 miles per hour (55 km per hour). That's a whole lot of angry animal -- and it's worth remembering that the black rhino is also equipped with thick skin and deadly horns. But this combative behavior is also its downfall: About 50 percent of males and 30 percent of females die from combat-related injuries, usually linked to aggression over territory or potential mates.
Slaughtered for their horns:
- The black rhino is native to eastern and central Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Angola. Despite their name, black rhinos actually vary in color from brown to gray.
- The black rhino is seen as a prime target for poachers, who kill them for their horns, often used in traditional Chinese medicine. Some claim that rhino horns can revive comatose patients, while others use it to detoxify, cure fevers, or improve male virility.
- The two horns on the rhino’s skull are made of keratin. The larger front horn is typically about 19 inches long (50 cm). The horns are used for defense, intimidation, digging up roots, and breaking branches.