Sadly, it has been declared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world’s largest conservation organization, that the western black rhino subspecies is extinct now. This is a consequence to the skyrocket increase in poaching from 2007 to 2012 (5000 percent).
Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations has stated that the illegal poaching is the proceeds of terror organizations and transnational organized crime.
Drug smugglers, gun runners and human traffickers are linked to this denigrating act. Moreover, other rhino species are also on the brink of extinction.
The western black rhino is a subspecies of the African Black Rhino and was last seen in 2006 in Africa. Even the black rhino has been listed as ‘critically endangered’ by IUCN and also the Asian Javan rhino is nearing the brink of extinction.
Lack of conservation practices and removal of their horns are the main reason behind the extinction of rhinos. Powdered rhino horn is a popular poaching product in Asia and is used for medicinal purpose, allegedly as a treatment for cancer. It is also used in the Middle East as a decoration and is considered as a status symbol.
The white rhino has been saved somehow by conservation, with its population being less than 100 at the end of 19th century to an approximate 20,000 today. However, they are still considered to be endangered.
In 1960, there were around 70,000 black rhinos, but only 4000 remain today. In a controversial announcement, the Dallas Safari Club stated that they would be auctioning off a permit for hunting an endangered black rhino, expected to bring around $1m. The club said this money was actually a fundraiser to protect the species.