Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) are one of the most endangered mammal species in Africa, with a population decline of more than 96% by the end of the last century. Habitat destruction and encroachment has resulted in fragmentation of the remaining populations. To assist in conservation management, baseline information is provided here on relative genetic diversity and population differentiation among the four remaining recognized subspecies. Using microsatellite data from nine loci and 121 black rhinoceros individuals, and comparing the results with those of other African species affected in similar ways, Diceros bicornis michaeli retained the most genetic diversity (heterozygosity 0.675) compared with Diceros bicornis minor (0.459) and Diceros bicornis bicornis (0.505), suggesting that the duration of the known bottlenecks in these populations has only had a limited impact on diversity. Comparable and moderate degrees of population differentiation were found between D. b. minor, D. b. bicornis and D. b. michaeli. Results from the single sample available of the most endangered subspecies, Diceros bicornis longipes, showed the least diversity of all individuals examined. This information should assist conservation management decisions, especially those affecting population viability assessments and selection of individuals for translocations, and will also facilitate subspecies identification for ex situ individuals of uncertain origin.
If you can't find a tool you're looking for, please click the link at the top of the page to "Go to old article view". Alternatively, view our Knowledge Base articles for additional help. Your feedback is important to us, so please let us know if you have comments or ideas for improvement.