Basic Social Structure
The below section refers to social stucture in captivity.
Black rhinos should be kept individually, in pairs, or in a trio of one male and two females. Keeping Black rhinos in larger temporary groups may possible particularly when young, however this varies between individuals and will depend on the size of the enclosure and the number of visual breaks. Two adult females together often works well but as all Black rhino groups they need careful observation.
The optimum group composition is 1.2. Since Black rhino males are territorial, each bull should have his own enclosure. Adult males in the same exhibit are not recommended and barriers must be solidly built, with no visual contact. Adult females in the same exhibit may be possible. An adult male and an adult female in the same exhibit is often possible but may need separating at times. Allowing compatible individuals to spend as much time as possible with each other may prove beneficial. Almost all of the institutions holding Black rhinos house them in pair situations, although they have also been exhibited in trios (1.2). If this is being considered, animal managers should monitor the behaviour of the dominant female closely, as female suppression has been recorded in select cases (EAZA yearbook, 1995; Fouraker and Wagener, 1996; Rieches, 1999).