Thursday, September 25, 2008

Endangered animals - Rhino

Rhinos, or to be more precise rhinoceros are mammals that belong to the Rhinocerotidea family. Today this family is left with five species, two in Africa, and the other three in Southern Asia, and what is even worse three of this five species are critically endangered (Javan, Sumatran, and Black Rhinoceros). The remaining two species are Indian rhinoceros which is listed as endangered with less than 3000 individuals remaining, and the largest species is White Rhinoceros with little above 11000 individuals remaining in the wild.

White rhinoceros is divided into two subspecies:Northern white and Southern white. While southern white population has respectable more than 11000 individuals, condition is even beyond critical with northern white population which population dropped to only 30 individuals by the year 2000. All remaining northern white rhinos have their habitat in Garamba National Park in Democratic Republic Congo, and even this hasn't help northern white rhino population because mostly of heavily armed poaching gangs, and insufficient preservation efforts. The situation with northern white rhino population has become so critical that scientists search for solutions in different
artificial insemination methods.

Once back in 1960s there were more than 2000 individuals of white rhino population that not were not only native to Congo but also to Uganda and Sudan. But unfortunate frequent civil wars and growing number of poachers have brought this white rhino subspecies on the brink of extinction. Situation ended much better for souther white rhino population because back in the 1960s South Africa launched excellent programme that included guards protecting reserves and relentless actions against poachers. This action was highly successful as today there are more than 11000 individuals in the wild. This kind of action was impossible for northern white rhino population because of frequent civil wars that stormed through countries where northern white population had their habitats.

Rhinos are favorite victim of many poachers, mainly because
Rhino horns are very valuable on the black market, as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicines or as dagger handles in Yemen and Oman.

Rhinos - Favorite victims of many poachers

Rhino population numbers (2007 estimate)

Black rhino: 3,610

White (northern and southern): 11,330

Indian: 2,500

Javan: 60

Sumatran: 300

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