Western Black Rhino Extinct 2013: 4 Things To Know About Species

The Western black rhino is officially extinct.

The western black rhino in Africa was categorized as "critically endangered" for years by the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. A follow-up on the species, which was last spotted in western Africa in 2006, has concluded that the western black rhino is extinct. And according to the IUCN, if the world doesn't get its act together, then other species of rhinos can become extinct very quickly, as Asia's Javan rhino is "making its last stand" and Africa's northern white rhino is "teetering on the brink of extinction." 

"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," Simon Stuart, chair of the IUCN species survival commission said in a statement, reports CNN. "These measures must be strengthened now, specifically managing habitats in order to improve performance, preventing other rhinos from fading into extinction." Think it's too late? Consider this: The southern white rhino species had a population of less than 100 creatures in the end of the 19th century, but conservation efforts have paid off and the subspecies boasts 20,000 specimens today.

The decline in the western black rhino population is due to poachers and the lack of conservation efforts, according to the world's conservationists. The western black rhino is considered to be a subspecies of the Black rhino. Due to be a rare subspecies, it was hunted in the 20th century. Preliminary conservation efforts resulted in a rise in population in the 1930s, but when the conservation efforts fell, so did the population. It is said that in 1980 the rare rhino numbered in the hundreds, and that in 2000 there were only 10. "This update offers both good and bad news on the status of many species around the world," Jane Smart, director of IUCN's global species program said in a statement, according to CNN. "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."

Here are four things to know about the western black rhino: 1. The Western black rhino is native to sub-Saharan Africa in the Cameroon region. 2. The western black rhino measures anywhere from 9.8 to 12.5 feet in length, boasts a height of about 5 feet and a weight of 1,800 to 2,900 pounds. 3. The diet of the western black rhino entailed leafy plants, as they were browsers. 4. The western black rhino was a victim of poaching, as their horns are believed to have medicinal value. This supposed value was not scientifically proven.


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