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Extinction Countdown

The Last 3 Bornean Rhinos Are in a Race against Extinction

Sumatran rhino

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. Experts once estimated that the rapidly disappearing forests of Sabah, Malaysia, could have hidden up to 10 Bornean rhinos—a subspecies of the critically endangered Sumatran rhino, of which fewer [...]

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Extinction Countdown

1,215: The Record Number of Rhinos Poached in 2014

rhino

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. All-told, 1,215 rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa in 2014, the highest number ever and an increase of 21 percent over 2013. By comparison, just 13 rhinos [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Another Northern White Rhino Dies, Only 5 Remain

northern white rhino

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. One more [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Only 4 Northern White Rhinos Remain in Africa: Inside the Last Attempts to Breed and Save Them

northern white rhino

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. “You have to be realistic,” he says, referring to the conservancy’s efforts to breed the last four northern white rhinos in Africa. “The reality is that [...]

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Extinction Countdown

How the Western Black Rhino Went Extinct

western black rhino

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 2001 that number had dropped to about 2,300 black rhinos and just three subspecies. This is the tale of how we lost one of those [...]

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Extinction Countdown

22 Links for World Rhino Day as Poaching Levels Shoot Past 2012′s Deadly Record

southern white rhino

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. Those horns will then begin their long journey to China or Vietnam where they will be ground up and sold as “cures” for ailments ranging from cancer to [...]

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Extinction Countdown

To Save the Sumatran Rhino, Zoo Will Attempt to Mate Brother and Sister

sumatran rhino dumont sq

Sometimes you just get desperate. In a last-ditch effort to help save the Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) from extinction, the Cincinnati Zoo has gathered together the last two members of the species in North America and will now attempt to get them to mate. There’s just one catch: the rhinos are brother and sister. Normally [...]

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Extinction Countdown

As Rhino Poaching Surges, South Africa Proposes Legalized Trade in Precious Horns

white rhino

The South African government released two important and shocking news items last week. The first announcement revealed that 461 rhinos had been poached in the country to date as of July 3—more than were killed in all of 2011. Poachers target the animals for their horns, which are valued in China and Vietnam for their [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Diseased Tigers, Wounded Rhinos and Other Links from the Brink

sumatran tiger

Diseases, poachers, smartphones, sewage and animal psychology are in the news this weekend. Temper Tantrum: Evidence of canine distemper has been found in Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) in Indonesia, according to a recent report from BBC News. Distemper has previously been found in Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) in Russia, where it proved to [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Gray Wolves Declared Recovered and Other Links from the Brink

gray wolf

Gray wolves, little penguins and rare birds in Fiji are among the endangered species in the news this weekend. Prepare for the Howls: In a not-unexpected move, this U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on Friday announced that it will propose to delist gray wolves (Canis lupus) from the Endangered Species Act (ESA), arguing that [...]

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Observations

How China’s Pet Dogs Might Save Wild Tigers

tiger

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. Yet in cities across China one can also still find dog on the menu, as I can personally attest. This divide between a growing middle [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The remarkable life appearance of the Woolly rhino

Cast of the famous Starunia Woolly rhino, on display at London's Natural History Museum. Photo by Darren Naish, CC BY.

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). Originally named in 1807 (but known for some time prior), this cold-adapted, shaggy-coated rhinocerotid rhino occurred from the Atlantic fringes [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Mysteries of the diceratheriine rhinos

This amazing fossil represents the diceratheriine rhino Subhyracodon occidentalis from the Late Eocene and Early and Middle Oligocene of the USA. Subhyracodon seems to have been ancestral to the better known Diceratherium*, a very long-lived diceratheriine that appeared in the Early Oligocene and persisted into the Middle Miocene. Diceratherium is well known for being one of [...]

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