South Africa has finally finished compiling its report on the number of rhinos poached in the country last year and, as expected, the news is terrible.
Richard Vigne, CEO of Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, admits that there’s not a huge amount of hope of saving the northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) from extinction.
One of the Pleistocene mammals depicted without fail in popular books – encyclopedias of prehistoric life and the like – is the Woolly rhinoceros Coelodonta antiquitatis (the species name is written antiquus in many sources).
On the streets of Beijing, little old ladies coax even littler dogs to do their business. Some even bear the little plastic bags carried by civically conscious urbanite pet-lovers everywhere.
Two important sets of numbers about large mammals have emerged in the past few days. One tells a story of conservation success whereas the other tale is far from that.
I’ve just learnt that today is World Rhino Day. This always happens: I learn about these things on the day and am completely unaware of them beforehand. I apologise if all this shows is that I’m badly organised and not paying enough attention to what’s being covered on the zoological newswires. Anyway...
Statistically speaking, at least two rhinos will probably be killed by poachers today. The criminals will descend upon the fallen animals, chop off their horns and disappear.
And then there were five. The death by old age this past weekend of Angalifu, a 44-year-old northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) that lived at San Diego Zoo, reduces the world population of this critically endangered subspecies to just five, all of which live in captivity and none of which are breeding.
Is there any hope of saving the Bornean rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis harrissoni) from extinction? Sadly, the chances of that happening seem to grow slimmer and slimmer.
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.