Article from USA Today, Part 2

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USA TODAY Articles, March 1999
1999 Newsletter
The African black rhinoceros
Tues., March 9, 1999
Section: LIFE
Page 4D

* Scientific name: Diceros bicornis

* Numbers: Once in the tens of thousands; now fewer than 3,000 remain worldwide. About 50 roam Tanzania.

* At Mkomazi: Arrived in 1997 from South African rhino sanctuaries; four black rhinos, two males and two females, live in a 50-square-mile, $1.4 million guarded compound ringed with an electrified fence.
Black rhino: Prized for their horns, they have poor eyesight but excellent smell and hearing.

* Reputation: As compared with the more docile white rhino, the black rhino is aggressive and will charge when challenged. While calves sometimes are killed by lions, adults, with their thick skin, have few predators beyond human poachers seeking their horns, which can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars in Asia for their alleged medicinal properties.

* Characteristics: While the white rhino features a wide, square jaw for better grazing, the black rhino's mouth comes to a point. Much like a giraffe, its long, rubbery tongue wraps around prickly bushes and strips them clean of leaves. Black rhinos have very poor eyesight but excellent smell and hearing.

* Habits: Solitary creatures, black rhinos spend their days wandering the African bush, satisfying vegetarian needs with various shrubs and grasses.

* The future: Fitzjohn suspects that the two females, who have wandered off with one of the males, are pregnant. He also hopes soon to welcome two more females and their small calves to Mkomazi. The days when they can be reintroduced to the wild -- and not fear the poacher -- are far off.

USA TODAY articles: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Copyright 1999, USA TODAY. Reprinted with permission.

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