Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Species of black rhino declared extinct

Species of black rhino declared extinct

December 5 2011 at 10:58am
By Eddy Delcher

The Western Black Rhinoceros, one of four subspecies of black rhinoceros, 
has been officially declared extinct by the International Union for the 
Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“This is devastating news,” said National Zoological Gardens of South Africa 
senior conservation adviser Mike Jordan.

“We all see daily reports of rhinos being slaughtered by poachers. Now our 
chances of saving the Western Black Rhino are forever gone,” he said.

The Western Black Rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis longipes, was massively 
hunted at the turn of the 20th century but thrived in 1930s West Africa 
after the implementation of preservation measures.

By 1980 the population had fallen to a few hundred because of poaching. By 
2000 only 10 of the rhinos survived – in Cameroon. Recent surveys found no 
sign of the remaining population and extensive evidence of poaching led to 
the subspecies being declared extinct last month.

The surviving three subspecies, two of which exist in South Africa, are 
listed as “critically endangered” – only one step away from being “extinct 
in the wild” on the IUCN’s conservation status index.

According to recent reports, only 4 880 black rhinos remain in the wild, 
with 740 Eastern Black Rhinos in Kenya and Tanzania, 1 920 South-Western 
Black Rhinos in South Africa and Namibia, and 2 220 Southern-Central Black 
Rhinos in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

In the 1960s, the black rhino population in Africa was estimated at 70 000, 
which means less than 7 percent survive today.

“The fate of the black rhino largely depends on our actions here in South 
Africa where most of the remaining black rhino occur,” said Jordan.

“We must stop the decimation of rhinos by poachers looking for rhino horns 
or soon we will be sounding the death knell for another of the subspecies.”


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