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Endangered Species: Western black rhino declared extinct, other rhinos facing the same fate

Courtesy: Hans Stieglitz/Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy: Hans Stieglitz/Wikimedia Commons

By Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter
Thursday, November 7, 2013, 9:05 AM

A sub-species of the black rhino that roamed the earth for 8 million years has been declared extinct, according to a 2011 review by the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN).

The animal hasn't been seen in the African wilderness since 2006 due, almost exclusively, to widespread poaching and a lack of conservation efforts.

Sadly, the fate of this sub-species is not unique: Rhinoceros populations across Africa and Asia are said to be disappearing at an alarming rate.

The animals are hunted for their horns, which are considered an aphrodisiac. This belief has spurred a lucrative black market that is pushing rhinoceros to the brink of extinction.

There are eight subspecies of black rhinos. All are either extinct, nearly extinct or listed as "vulnerable" by the IUCN.

"In the case of the western black rhino ... the situation could have had very different results if ... suggested conservation measures had been implemented," said Simon Stuart, chair of the IUCN species survival commission, in a statement.

"These measures must be strengthened now, specifically managing habitats in order to improve performance, preventing other rhinos from fading into extinction."

According to the IUCN, Africa's northern white rhino and Asia's Javan rhino are also buckling under the weight of relentless poaching.


  • Raise awareness about rhinocerous poaching.
  • Write a letter. The One More Generation campaign aims to send as many letters as possible to South African president Jacob Zuma, pleading for better conservation efforts surrounding rhinocerous. Visit their website to learn more.
  • Donate to a trustworthy cause, like the WWF. 

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