Rhinos Socialize After Dark

VIDEO: Animal rituals exposed on "AFRICA", series premiere at 10 pm on Discovery.

Image credit: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

Nocturnal gatherings of black rhinos have been captured for Sir David Attenborough's latest BBC wildlife series, "Africa," marking the first time such interactions between black rhinos have ever been documented.

Wildlife researchers used a special camera system that relied on the light from stars to capture images of black rhinos gathering in groups, playing together, rubbing noses and communicating using a range of sounds from squeaks to bellows and grunts.

Rhinos have a reputation for being solitary, grumpy creatures. The footage, however, suggested that under the right circumstances, they can become playful and friendly with one another.

Poaching has increased dramatically over the last few years and, today, there are roughly 5,000 black rhinos, mainly in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Namibia. The World Wildlife Foundation estimated that 50 years ago, there were 70,000.

"Africa," which premieres on the Discovery Channel on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 10 p.m. ET, is a seven-part series that producers say brings to life the African continent with imagery that has never been seen before.

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