Black rhinoceros in the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

Deaths of Eight Rare Rhinos in Kenya is a Blow to Conservation

Plant and animal species around the world live under the constant threat of endangerment and extinction. While grizzly bears, bald eagles, and manatees are high-profile success stories for conservation efforts, others remain at risk. The Pacific Bluefin Tuna, for example, faces overfishing and habitat decline. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) currently classifies the fish as Vulnerable.

Rare rhino subspecies have recently been in the spotlight because they are so endangered. Eight black rhinos recently died in captivity, and the last male northern white rhino died this year.

Tragic Death of Eight Black Rhinos

National Geographic recently reported that eight out of eleven black rhinos recently died when they were translocated from one wildlife reserve to another. They died from salt poisoning in the new park’s water supply.

Paula Kahumbu, a National Geographic explorer and CEO of WildlifeDirect, said that the deaths were surprising because the Kenya Wildlife Service has made many successful translocations before.

Cathy Dean, the chief executive of the UK charity Save the Rhino, told National Geographic that losing eight black rhinos will have significant implications for breeding and translocation efforts in the remaining black rhino population.

The black rhino was introduced to Tsavo East National Park in order to establish a black rhino population there. The surviving three rhinos are being closely monitored and an investigation is underway to examine whether there was any misconduct during the translocation.

Death of Last Remaining Male Northern White Rhino

The black rhino is not the only rhino species facing significant threats. The last remaining male northern white rhino died in March of this year from complications related to an infection in his back right leg. During the last days of his life, Sudan was protected by armed guards.

After Sudan’s death, there are now only two northern white rhinos remaining in captivity, both female. Scientists hope to use IVF to impregnate southern white rhino surrogates, but the procedure is costly and the technology is not yet perfected.

Rhino Conservation an Ongoing Issue

Rhino conservation is an ongoing issue in Africa. Translocating rhino species from one park to another is a risky and complicated process that involves sedating the animal and putting it into a large crate on a truck.

Poaching remains one of the biggest threats to this vulnerable species. In July 2018, ABC News reported that a group of poachers in the Sibuya Game Reserve in South Africa were mauled to death by lions after they trespassed on the game reserve. Despite the risks, poachers will often stop at nothing to get what they came for: the rhinoceros horn, which is believed to have medicinal properties. Poachers often use advanced weaponry to find and kill their targets and will even take down people working to protect rhinos if they are in the poachers’ way.

Local conservation efforts led by individual communities in Africa are helping to maintain species habitats for future generations. Through support from the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) and other foundations, local villages are learning sustainable forest management techniques and beekeeping to provide for their families. This is helping to restore both forests and hope for future conservation victories.

Conclusion

Many species are at risk of extinction due to pollution, human activities, and poaching. Animal parts from prized species fetch a high price on the black market, which explains their criminal appeal. The tragic death of the eight black rhinos and the recent death of the last male northern white rhino highlight the importance of conservation for species like the rhino and the Pacific Bluefin Tuna.At The Pegasus Foundation, we care about rhinos well- being as well as any endangered species from any part of the world. You can find more information about animals, which need to be protected, on our web page and if you would like to contribute with this cause, it will be a great help. Please contact us.