Africa’s Western Black Rhino declared extinct

NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) -- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has declared Africa's Western Black Rhinoceros to be extinct, only weeks after the Javan rhinoceros in Vietnam was also declared extinct.

The IUCN declared the subspecies extinct and warned that others are also on the brink of extinction as a result of widespread poaching. The head of the United Nations-backed convention on endangered species has called for the stepping up of efforts by countries and international organizations to combat the illegal trade in rhino horn.

"We're extremely worried about today's news," said John Scanlon, Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). "To hear about the extinction of the subspecies from West Africa is of grave concern. We have grave concern for the rhino more generally."

The Western Black Rhinoceros were once widespread in central-west Africa, but the subspecies became heavily hunted in the beginning of the 20th century. Although preservation actions in the 1930s allowed the species to partially recover, protection efforts later declined.

In 1980, the population of the subspecies had declined to several hundred, most of them in northern Cameroon. By 2000, only about a dozen Western Black Rhinoceros were thought to be alive, and a survey in 2006 found none to be alive. No sightings of the animal have been reported since, and none were held in captivity.

According to CITES, 330 rhinos have been killed this year alone, poached for their horns which are popular in medicine markets across South East Asia. Demand for the horn is at an all time high, with prices reaching more than $50,000 per kilogram (2.2 pounds).

"We cannot rely upon the responses historically used. We need to involve the police, in a way that can combat criminal gangs. We need to involve world customs at a much greater level; we need to get the justice system treating illegal trade in wildlife, in particular rhino horn, as serious crime," Scanlon said.

The Secretary-General added that these measures are needed to protect all endangered species, not just the rhino. Illegal trade in wildlife is estimated to be worth more than $10 billion per year, driving many species closer to extinction.

Last month, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the International Rhino Foundation confirmed that Javan rhinoceros have also been driven to complete extinction in Vietnam. With the complete extinction in Vietnam, only one small group remains in the wild: the 40 to 50 Javan rhinos in Ujung Kulon in Indonesia.

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  • Wilds Man

    Now I am just going to have to blow some Infantile Liberal Minds:………..

    I am not a conservative myself (except that I AM a staunch ‘Conservationist’ – figure that one out!!); nor am I a Liberal. However, I “am” a Realist – in other words a Scientist. I even saw a post (if not here then on another news page) where someone said that people need to become more Scientific (and not believe in ‘Fairy Tales’ like Rhino Horn medicinal properties, or Dagger Handles). I wonder if that commenter would also extrapolate that idea to many liberals who bank so much on Emotionalism instead of Logic!!!

    I too am very saddened by the loss of the Rhino – and hope it really isn’t true.

    Many of the commenter’s I have read today & yesterday have talked about maiming or mutilating the poachers or the purchasers of Rhino Products (ignorant as many of them are). In effect, many of you seem to be implying that the Rhino is worth more that the people dealing in their parts.

    Now let’s take this discussion to the next level:… I know how many of you anti-logic, emotional based liberals “Hate” George Bush and the ousting of Saddam Hussein from Iraq, but I wonder how many of you know that that very action may have saved many wildlife species – mostly birds (not that war usually does so). You see there was a marsh at the mouth of the Tigris – Euphrates River in Southern Iraq. This marsh was the homeland of many Shiites who opposed Hussein. After the first Gulf War (early 90’s) Hussein started burning & draining the marsh to oust & eradicate the Shiites.

    Now this marsh was also the primary stop-over for many migratory birds heading to Africa from Asia. Many, if not most of the other stop-over areas had already been drained or destroyed, one way or the other over the decades. This marsh probably was the most important of all the stop-over areas and was perfectly situated about halfway down the flyway. It was never thoroughly drained but probably only about 10-20% remained in 2003. At that point the Coalition Forces and the local people began a restoration program and the marsh has tentatively been restored about 50%. If Hussein had ever finished the job anywhere from 10 to 50 species of birds could have been lost.

    Even though I know Bush was not a “died in the wool” Environmentalist he did take Environmental Concerns more seriously than many realized – even Global Warming (where he said he thought it was a serious issue and needed more study & not just be dismissed — This caused Rush Limbaugh to call him “George Bush/Al Gore” a few months into his first term— some of you might remember this if you would jog your newly Realistic Minds. However something happen that changed his priorities…….9/11). You see the Real world ‘IS’ Multi-Layered & Multi-Textured — Just ask Obama – the world was not as simple as he thought. The Celestial Choirs’ didn’t sing (even if Hillary was the one who made the comment)!!

    Bush always said there was more than one reason Hussein had to go – not just WMD. This is not to say that I am implying that the marsh was high on his list. However, the marsh was just one of a long list of Hussein’s Atrocities and possible benefits of removing him. I could go down that long list but I am sure many of you newly more Scientific/Realistic Liberals could Google them up. You know. for a more ‘Complete & Sophisticated Understanding’.

    ……………..and let’s all hope for the Rhino’s and many other specie’s continued survival, maybe via Science once again…………. Genetic Sampling.