Thursday, November 17, 2011


On Thursday, November 10, 2011, the Western Black Rhino was officially declared extinct.  This was a sad thing to happen, even though rhinos are very weird-looking animals, if you ask me.  But it's not their fault if they look weird, and it's definitely not nice for this type of rhino to have to go extinct.  If fleas went extinct, that would be a different matter because I don't think many people or animals would miss fleas very much.  But rhinos are nicer than fleas because they don't bite you and make you itch all the time.  On the other hand, you would not want to get stepped on by a rhinoceros because that would make you all squished and flat.

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.

Western Black Rhinos were between 4.6 and 5.6 feet tall and weighed 1,800--2,900 pounds.  They had two horns, just like other African rhinos.  Asian rhinos (except for Sumatran rhinos) only have one horn.  And the bigger horn of the Western Black Rhino could be as long as 4.3 feet.

Another type of rhinoceros is the Eastern Black Rhino, and it is not extinct yet.  We have one of them at the Kansas City Zoo, and she had a baby last spring.  Luckily, the baby rhinos don't have horns when they are born, because if they did, it would be kind of painful for the mama rhino.  Anyway, back in 1900 or so, there were about 100,000 Eastern Black Rhinos in Africa, but by the 1960s, only 1,500 were left.  Of course, this was because of the big, bad poachers.  But since then, a lot of people have tried to save the Eastern Black Rhino, so today there are about 4,500 of them.

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."

The Javan Rhino is in even worse shape, at least in Vietnam, where it is "probably extinct."  There are a few Javan Rhinos left on the island of Java, but not very many, and there are getting to be fewer of them all the time.

And now for some good news, which is about the Southern White Rhinos.  At the end of the 19th century, only about 100 of there were left, but now there are over 20,000.  This is because of special efforts to stop the poaching and to breed more of these rhinos.  In my opinion, this is what people should be doing all over the world with their wild animals, but sometimes people are poor and hungry and desperate to make a little money, so they don't care too much about conservation.  Which is sad, but that's the way things are.  If I were Queen of the World, I would make sure everyone had enough food to eat so that nobody had to cut down rainforests or kill wild animals for bush meat or to get their horns or tusks.


  1. Dear Piper...first, I am sorry I've not been able to access your blog lately. I will be reading the blogs I missed. :) I get so darn mad when I read of an animal being extinct...especially due to STUPID SELFISH poachers!! I'd like to poach them...whatever that means. I also agree with you about fleas! Thanks for writing about the rhinos, they are a bit odd looking, but I still wish NONE were extinct.
    Love, AP

  2. Dear Aunt Patty,
    Thanks for catching up on reading my blog. It is sad about the rhinos, even though they are more than just a bit odd looking, in my opinion. Maybe we could poach the poachers the same way you poach an egg. Ha!
    Love, Piper

  3. We are very sad to read about the extinct rhinos. I wish someone had saved them, even if they were only saved in a zoo and not in the wild.

    I also wanted to wish you a hippo birdie that you celebrated a few days ago. I would have done that in a more timely manner, but mom was away for a whole week and dad won't help me with important computer stuff. He's harder to train that mom.

    Your friend
    Zest, superstar in training

  4. Dear Zest,

    I am sorry you cannot get your dad trained to help you read my blog and write comments on it. But as long as you have him trained to feed you at the right time every day, I guess that is the the most important thing!

    It's very sad about the rhinos. We will just have to enjoy the ones that are left. And if we see any poachers, we can bite them in the butt!

    Your friend, Piper