Thursday, November 17, 2011
WESTERN BLACK RHINOS ARE EXTINCT!
The last place that anybody saw Western Black Rhinos or any signs of them, such as their poop, was in 2006 in Cameroon. In 2000, there might have still been 10 of these animals left in Cameroon, but now there is no trace of them anywhere.
The reason for the Western Black Rhino's going extinct is that for years poachers have been killing them to get their horns. These horns are made out of something called keratin, which is the same stuff that fingernails and toenails and hair is made of. There is a belief in Eastern medicine that rhinoceros horn will cure cancer and do other good stuff like that. Western scientists say there is no proof that this is true, but a lot of people are willing to pay Big Bucks for rhino horns on the black market. I think these people should just pull out their own fingernails and use that keratin instead, but as usual, nobody asked for my opinion!
Since poachers can make a whole bunch of money selling the horns, they keep killing rhinos. And the poachers haven't been punished very much for doing this mean illegal stuff, so that's another reason that they keep doing it.
Sadly, the situation of the Northern White Rhino is not as good. There are only 4 of them left for sure. These 4 used to be in a zoo in the Czech Republic, but now they live on a ranch in Kenya. There might also be a few wild ones left in Congo and South Sudan, but no one has seen them for sure. So the Northern White Rhino is said to be "possibly extinct."