Rhinos Remain at Risk

Rhinos Remain at Risk

But Conservation Efforts Helping White Rhinos

Rhinos in the wild have been under the population gun for several decades. Prized for their horns, most species remain in decline, some are on the verge of extinction, and others no longer exist. There’s good news, however for the Southern White Rhino. Numbers continue to increase and estimates place their numbers at about 20,000

Five rhino species exist today; three (Sumatran, Javan, Indian) are found in Asia and the remaining two (black, white) are native to Africa. Within each of these groups, subspecies exist and it is those that are facing dire risks of disappearing completely. While zoos work to increase captive populations, it is the wild groups, living in reserves that stand the best chance to thrive in large numbers.

In the wild, without protective borders, these large animals rarely stand a chance. It’s not so much from dwindling habitat, but due to poaching. In some regions, it’s believed that dagger handles made from rhino horn holds special powers. In other areas, ground rhino horn is thought to contain amazing medicinal properties.

Just a few decades ago, it was thought that the southern white rhino was gone. (Most recently, researchers believe the Northern White rhino is indeed extinct.) The creation and expansion of sanctuaries seems to have created a turning point. Some zoos around the world have also been transporting their own animals to these heavily protected areas.

The expansion of habitats and private ranches, along with widespread conservation efforts are responsible for giving southern white rhinos a second chance. They’re now the only species in this collective group that are no longer on the endangered or threatened list.

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