The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) along with all the people of this world have lost the battle to save the Western Black Rhino. This magnificent creature has been declared extinct by the IUCN.
While the IUCN listed the Western Black Rhino as extinct in 2011, their policy is to wait 5 years before making it official. The hope is that within that period of time there would be new evidence to change the status. Sadly none was found.
It is believed that a combination of illegal poaching and poor conservation efforts have resulted in the extinction of the Western Black Rhino. They have been preserved only in photos.
There were 4 subspecies of rhino, including the Western Black Rhino. The 3 remaining are the Eastern Black Rhino found in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, Southcentral Black Rhino roaming Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland and South Africa and the Southwestern Black Rhino in Namibia and South Africa. They are all on the critically endangered list.
The IUCN believes the Northern White Rhino and the Javan Rhino may be near to or are extinct as well.
Poachers are killing the animals for their horns. Consumers, particularly in Asia, believe the horns can cure illnesses and diseases and when displayed are a symbol of wealth.
Simon Stuart, Chairman of the IUCN feels that the Western Black Rhino could have been saved if stronger conservation efforts were implanted. Let’s hope that they will be and the remaining rhinos will increase in number. Quoting Stuart, “Human beings are stewards of the earth and we are responsible for protecting the species that share our environment.”