Western Black Rhino Extinct

Gregory Wakeman - Author

Nov. 3 2016, Updated 4:33 a.m. ET

Africa’s western black rhino is now officially extinct, according to the latest review from the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.

The animal was last seen on the continent in 2006, and the demise of this subspecies of the black rhino will now be used to help raise the awareness of other creatures’ plight.

The IUCN has admitted that other species of rhino are likely to follow the western black rhino into obliteration if measures aren’t met. They have also announced that Africa’s northern white rhino is currently “teetering on the brink of extinction,” while it also revealed that Asia’s Javan rhino is “making its last stand.”

These animals are eternally threatened because of a lack of conservation, and the continued attacks of poachers.

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A full statement from Simon Stuart, the chair of the IUCN species survival commission, announced, “In the case of the western black rhino and the northern white rhino the situation could have had very different results if the suggested conservation measures had been implemented.”

He then continued, “These measures must be strengthened now, specifically managing habitats in order to improve performance, preventing other rhinos from fading into extinction.”

Previous conservation efforts helped to bring the southern white rhino subspecies to prominence again, after it was deemed to be on the brink of extinction back in the 19th century. Around the 1890s there were only thought to be less than a 100 of the creatures left, however now there is believed to be around 20,000 today.

Not only animals run the risk of becoming extinct, with the IUCN also announcing that many plants are under threat. This includes the Chinese fir, which has been threatened due to the expansion of agriculture in the region.

Meanwhile, another type of yew tree, taxus contorta, which is normally found in Asia, has been reclassified to endangered, too.

The IUCN also noted that five out of eight tuna species are either “near threatened” or “threatened,” while 26 recently-discovered amphibians have also been added to the Red List.

Jane Smart, the director of IUCN’s global species program, explained in a statement, “This update offers both good and bad news on the status of many species around the world. We have the knowledge that conservation works if executed in a timely manner, yet, without strong political will in combination with targeted efforts and resources, the wonders of nature and the services it provides can be lost forever.”

[Image via ZooPro/Wikimedia]


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