The Western Black Rhinoceros

As you might have seen, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) last week officially declared the western black rhinoceros extinct, just weeks after the Javan rhino was listed extinct. This is troubling news.

First, let’s clarify terminology. When an animal is declared extinct it means that no individuals remain in the wild. Zero. Extinct species can exist in zoos, though no western black rhinos are believed to be housed anywhere. To the best of our knowledge, none remain on the planet. (Lincoln Park Zoo exhibits eastern black rhinos—cousins of the extinct western black rhinos—which are considered endangered in their African habitat.) 
 
So why is the western black rhino extinct? Human encroachment has shrunk their habitats in western Africa, while poachers have increased their slaughter in recent years, fueled by demand in Asian markets for rhino horns for medicinal use. Rhino horns offer no medicinal benefits, which makes this slaughter so upsetting.
 
Lincoln Park Zoo has recently halted rhino-conservation projects in Africa for fear that poachers could follow our scientists to find rhinos. That is dispiriting, but necessary.
 
So what can you do? You can support conservation initiatives such as the IUCN and Lincoln Park Zoo, which in addition to conducting research here in Chicago supports programs for a host of species around the world.
 
And you can visit the zoo to educate yourself about the majesty of wildlife, particularly the beautiful, burly rhinos that lumber through the yard at our Regenstein African Journey, serving as ambassadors for their dwindling cousins in the wild.
 
In brighter news, a long-tailed duck has taken up residence at Nature Boardwalk this week. It's the first time I've seen this species, formerly known as oldsquaw, around the zoo. Long-tailed ducks spend winters on the east coast and around the Great Lakes, so hopefully this female—and more like her—grace our grounds throughout the season. As always, I’ll keep you posted.
 
Sincerely,
Kevin Bell

Comments

Western Black Rhino

If we knew that the species was in trouble, why didn't we capture some to preserve the species? You would think with modern day genetics, this would be easy.

Western Black Rhino

Yes, I was thinking the same. It was clear for a long time the Western Black Rhino would become extinct because no one could control the poaching. All the more reason to remove some of the animals from the wild into captive breeding programs to at least preserve the species from extinction. Why wasn't his done???

wow

wow

rhinos

hi i'm might just be in the 5TH grade but i know alot about rhinos

Black Rhino

I have the same Question as everyone else why was there not more done to preserve the species? I think maybe because it costs money to save a species and there is no money to be made by saving a species.That seems to be the trend in the world today.I do have a question however regarding other species that are endangered in Africa by hunting and poaching. Why don`t we get Either Government or private land donation and start a reserve here in the U.S for the endangered species of Africa, so they can breed and be protected?It is obvious that they cannot be protected in Africa. We are going to have to care at some point!

Unfortunately, conserving

Unfortunately, conserving edangered species is a tough task in the best of times, and the circumstances surrounding rhino poaching have made the job even more difficult. The zoo and conservation partners around the world are exploring new ways to protect these species, even as we continue ongoing efforts in Africa and elsewhere.

reserve for endangered species.

So what! we just let them diminish because it is difficult. That is not a good enough answer it is all about money and politics. Truly without these animals we will no longer exist either. Something has to be done.There will have to come a time soon when money is not the driving force. We have to get our priorities straight. Every time someone responds saying it is more difficult then you think, what they are really saying is if you think this is difficult then maybe I wont have to address the subject. It is not difficult. Find land here where we can care for endangered species, to keep them in existence. Spend the money, and spend it the right way not so people can line there pockets.

Easier Said Than Done

I understand your rationale and concern but, unfortuantely, politics and money play a large role in many conservation efforts. This is just proof there are not enough people who care enough to put forth the effort and finances to make a stand to save endangered species. Catch 22: humans can both save and destroy wildlife and many choose to just turn the other cheek, hoping someone else will solve the problem.

Western Black Rhino

>> "...is just proof there are not enough people who care enough to put forth the effort and finances..."

I'm not buying that. I believe there is a sad lack of creative effort in fund raising. How much could it possibly cost to obtain the proper personnel, equipment and permissions to capture some of those animals and relocate them?? Maybe 50 million dollars? Maybe more, maybe less. Creative fund raising should be able to achieve that kind of level without much difficulty. There are literally thousands of millionaires here in America, as well as many in other nations. Sports celebrities, Hollywood stars, musicians who would gladly give concerts for this kind of effort, philanthropic titans such as Bill Gates, politicians with hundreds of millions of dollars. The list goes on and on. With proper publicity and recruitment, I can not believe for a minute that money could ever be an obstacle to preserve any species. So much of the world is internet-connected these days. Hire somebody who knows how to motivate people to give; how to show them the tax advantages, how to show them their name will live on in history for doing something good. Hire somebody who is a positive thinker. Blaming it on people who "choose to turn the other cheek" is pathetic. There ARE enough people who care. But they are not being reached, and that is not their fault.

W. Black Rhinos

When governments refuse to pass spending bills and shut down the government because it's fun to do (read: house republicans) money becomes a huge issue in what can be done in areas like this. Some conservation is carried on by individuals with their own money but this is rare; a project like preserving this species is expensive and many-faceted. In addition, when other countries created a demand for their deaths it becomes an impossible job as it turns very political. We can do some pretty awesome things but as a species, we've become a cancer on this planet and the other life forms. If there were a god, it would have removed us long ago as the caretakers of the planet.

I am giving you a new way. A

I am giving you a new way. A large Parcel of land in the US where they can reproduce, along with other endangered species in Africa, since they are unable to be protected in Africa. Get scientist and zoologists and private parties and Government to make it happen nothing is impossible. The question is do we care enough to make it happen!

Thank you for your response.

Thank you for your response. Yes you are right I witnessed this when I posted the story on F B and Twitter, it seems all they care about is what the latest celebrity gossip is. Well I care and I will do what ever I can to help. I have already written some letters to a few influential people I know and will be speaking to some in Africa this week.Perhaps they don`t care either, but I will surely give it my best. Please don`t stop trying!
I am thinking perhaps that an international law should be created and taken to the UN that will make poachers international criminals, and rewards can be offered for info. leading to an arrest.

black rhynos

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot... thanks humans

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