The Black rhino originally occurred throughout eastern and southern Africa and in the north ranged as far as north-eastern Sudan and at least as far west as north-eastern Nigeria.
The extent of the former range in western Africa is not precisely known; suggestions are that prior to 1900 Diceros was found in the savannah zone as far west as Guinea (Nowak, 1999). The Black rhino is divided into three extant and one recently extinct subspecies.
The eastern ssp. (D.b. micheali) had a historical distribution from southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya into northern-central Tanzania. The south-western ssp. (D.b. bicornis) had a historical distribution from Namibia, southern Angola, western Botswana and south western Africa. The original range for the south-central ssp. (D.b. minor) includes western and southern Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, northern and eastern parts of South Africa. It also probably occurred in southern Democratic Republic of the Congo, northern Angola and eastern Botswana. The western ssp. (D.b. longipes) recently reported to be extinct once ranged through west-central Africa (Emslie, 1999).