Western black rhino declared extinct

Posted on 2 July 2013

As of 26 June 2013, the western black rhino has been declared extinct. According to Inhabitat, based on a report from International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the rhino subspecies has officially disappeared from the face of the earth.

Since the western black rhino was last seen in 2006, fears and claims about the extinction of the subspecies have been circulating. Now, they’ve sadly been proven correct, after IUCN conducted a new review of 60,000 species of animals and plants in order to update the Red List of Threatened Species.

The western black rhino could soon be joined by the northern white rhino, and Asia’s Javan rhino if strong measures are not taken to stop poaching and increase conservation efforts.

The story of the southern white rhino, however, has given rhino conservationists hope.  The southern white rhino faced extinction in the late 1800s until conservation measures were introduced and revived the population. Today the southern white rhino population is estimated at  20,000.

According to Simon Stuart, chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, if  the measures that were applied to rescue the southern white rhino has also been applied to the western black rhino, the species may have survived.  “These measures must be strengthened now in order to prevent other rhinos from fading into extinction,” said Stuart.

Image from Rudi Hulshof

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