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Bouba Ndjida National Park

Bouba Ndjida National Park

Cameroon’s held on a bit longer. Garamba is also home to some of the last remaining Kordofan giraffe population and there is an action plan for that population. Maybe, just maybe, that will also lead to people caring about the rhino species that remain, and to take action before they, too, are gone.

How the Western Black Rhino Went Extinct

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Print Advertisement Oh what a difference a century makes. At the beginning of the 20th century, an estimated one million black rhinoceroses from four different subspecies roamed the savannas of Africa.

By that number had dropped to about 2, black rhinos and just three subspecies. This is the tale of how we lost one of those subspecies, the western black rhinoceros Diceros bicornis longipes.

It is a story of greed, indifference, hope and despair. Widespread sports hunting in the first decades of the century quickly decimated rhino populations. Industrial agriculture came next, clearing many historic rhino habitats for fields and settlements. Farmers and ranchers at the time viewed large herbivores such as rhinos as pests and dangers to their crops.

The slaughter continued. The final nail in the rhinos’ coffin began in the early s, when Mao Zedong promoted so-called traditional Chinese medicine TCM as a tool for unifying the country he had recently come to lead. Among the many “cures” touted by China’s “New Medicine” was powdered rhino horn, which was said to cure everything from fevers to cancer.

This last claim is a fairly recent development. That’s when poachers descended on Africa. Between and an astonishing 98 percent of black rhinos were killed by poachers, either to feed the new and voracious demand for TCM or, to a lesser extent, for horns to be used as ceremonial knife handles in the Middle East.

All rhinos suffered; the western black rhino, already weakened by decades of overhunting, was the hardest hit. By the western black rhino’s range had shrunk to just two countries: Cameroon, which held of the animals, and Chad, where just 25 remained. Chad’s western blacks were wiped out within 10 years. Cameroon’s held on a bit longer. The country held an estimated 50 western black rhinos ina number that dropped to 35 just a year later. By the population had fallen to an estimated 10 final rhinos.

Even that count doesn’t fully convey the precarious nature of the subspecies at that point. The 10 last western black rhinos were scattered across 25, square kilometers of northern Cameroon. Four of them lived in fairly close proximity to one another. The remaining six lived in isolation, with an average of 60 kilometers between each animal and little, if any, hope to find one another and start breeding. Even if that feat had been accomplished, the land in northern Cameroon was poorly suited for rhinos and provided very little food.

Providing safe habitat for just 20 rhinos would require a fenced-in sanctuary square kilometers in size. The authors wrote that the “lack of local conservation capacity and government commitment” would make consolidating the last rhinos difficult and concluded that the future of the subspecies was bleak.

They were right. Another WWF survey in found just five surviving western black rhinos, with the possibility of three additional, unconfirmed animals. That was the last time scientists or conservationists ever saw a western black rhino.

Even though things were grim at Glacier National Park To Great Falls Mt point, a brief blip of hope occurred in That year, the nongovernmental organization Symbiose found evidence that as many as 31 western black rhinos still lived in Cameroon.

That evidence, though, was quickly discredited. It turned out that trackers had faked rhino footprints in order to save their jobs. Symbiose returned to Cameroon inconducing 46 field surveys over the course of six months. The work wasn’t easy. Roads were poorly maintained or nonexistent. Access to vehicles was expensive and unreliable. Armed gangs attacked travelers on many roads. Wherever the researchers traveled they saw…

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She then took the animal home and slaughtered it, removing the scales and disecting the body. Rwanda recently banned the production of charcoal which has led to increased prices and demand. These chimps are all rescues and come from the bushmeat trade in DRC after their mothers were killed for bushmeat. He was shot through the wrist and the AK 47 round also grazed his bicep.