Review and images by callmejoe3; edited by bmathison1972
2020 seems to be the year of the rhino on this blog with the Schleich 2018 Indian rhinoceros and the Safari Ltd 2010 white rhinoceros being the first two to be featured. The black rhino (Diceros bicornis) makes its debut for this review. The black rhino is one of the two extant African species of rhinoceroses, once sharing its genus with the other species, the white rhino (Ceratotherium simum). Four subspecies of black rhinos have been recognized: the southwestern (D. b. bicornis), eastern (D. b. michaeli), southcentral (D. b. minor), and the extinct western subspecies (D. b. longipes); however, these designations have been contested. They once had a wide distribution across sub-Saharan Africa but are now scattered across small pockets. They primarily reside in savannahs. Black rhinos are browsers rather than grazers, meaning they feed mostly on shrubs and herbs rather than grass. They are hindgut fermenters like horses and zebras. Unlike their cousins, the white rhino, black rhinos are not particularly social, but can tolerate the presence of others. Black rhinos generally range from 3-3.75 meters in length, 1.4-1.8 meters in shoulder height, and 1-1.8 metric tons in mass with the males generally larger than females. In the wild, black rhinos typically live to be 30-35 years old. The historical black rhino population is estimated to have been around 850,000 individuals across the African continent, which suffered a great decline to below 2,500 in the 1990s. Now there are about 3,140 mature individuals in the recovering population, 96% of which are shared between 4 nations: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. Conservational threats to black rhinos include poaching and liability to inbreeding and disease due to their small, isolated populations.
In 2008, Schleich manufactured a male African black rhino as part of their Wild Life Africa lineup to go with the female that they produced in 2002. With a shoulder height of 64 mm and a body length of 144 mm, this figure is roughly in the 1:22-1:28 scale for an average sized individual. This rhino features two horns: one on the tip of the snout and the other positioned between the eyes. The anterior horn is the larger of the two. The figure is colored a grayish-brown color with glossy finish. The skin is textured pretty realistically with a leathery and wrinkled exterior. The tail is curled.
The hooves are fairly accurate as this perissodactyl bears three toes with the middle one as the largest on each hoof. Each hoof seems to be the same shape and size, though the front hooves should be larger than the rear hooves. Between the rear legs, you can see that the penis is sculpted, distinguishing this from Schleich’s older black rhino.
The most important characteristic in distinguishing black and white rhinos are their lip shapes, where the black rhino’s is pointed, and the white rhino’s is square-shaped. In fact, it’s believed the white rhino’s English name is a mistranslation of the original Dutch word ‘’wijd’’, which translates to ‘’wide’’ with respect to its lip shape. Schleich made sure to include the vital pointed lip for its black rhino.
One thing I will say against this figure is that it does not pair too well with the other African megafauna like the Safari Ltd African elephant (above). You will require larger figures around the 1:20-1:30 if you are scale conscious.
Overall, I believe Schleich offers a genuinely nice replica for this species. However, this figure has since been retired by Schleich in 2012 and re-released with a new paintjob in 2015 before being quickly retired again. There has yet to be a re-release for this species by the company. For those who prefer this figure over the still in production Safari Ltd and Papo black rhinos should consider checking the secondhand market for figures that are still in circulation.