The southern white rhino was on the brink of extinction in 1895, having been reduced to less than 50 animals, but now has a population of over 10,000.
Once widespread in the bushveld areas of southern Africa, south of the Zambezi river, the southern white rhino was on the brink of extinction in 1895, having been reduced to just one small population of approximately 20-50 animals in the Umfolozi Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
However, by the end of 2010, after years of protection and many translocations, the subspecies has grown to 20,170 wild animals. On January 6, 2020, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species reported the white rhinoceros population at 10,080.
Operation Rhino was launched with the first successful translocation out of Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park in 1961. Numbers of populations and rhinos have increased ever since and the result has been of the world’s great success stories with the sub-species being successfully translocated to new areas in eight other countries and throughout South Africa.
South Africa remains the stronghold for this subspecies conserving 18,800 individuals, 93.2% of the white rhino population, in 2010.