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End of Africa's black rhino

The Western Black Rhino has been declared extinct, while another subspecies is dangerously close.
Black rhino extinct 2011 11 10Enlarge
A 6-month-old Black Rhino calf plays in its enclosure at Lympne Wild Animal Park on June 21, 2011, in Hythe, England. (Dan Kitwood/AFP/Getty Images)

The latest issue of the annual Red List, published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), says that the Western Black Rhino is extinct.

The Western Black Rhino, or Diceros bicornis longipes, is a subspecies formerly found in West Africa.

The Red List of Threatened Species also says that the Northern White Rhino subspecies is “teetering on the brink” and is likely already extinct in the wild.

Rhino populations have suffered in recent years due to an upsurge in poaching for their horns, which are in high demand in the Far East for use in potions that claim medicinal qualities.

Nevertheless, Jane Smart, director of the IUCN Global Species Program, says it is not all bad.  “This update offers good and bad news on the status of many species around the world.”

In a call to arms, Smart says: “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.”

It is already too late it seems for the Western Black Rhino.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/africa-emerges/end-africas-black-rhino