The western black rhinoceros was declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) after it updated its Red List, a comprehensive database of threatened, vulnerable, endangered and extinct species.
The annual update lists more threatened species than ever before, and states that 25 percent of the world's mammals are at risk of extinction. In addition to the Western black rhino, a subspecies of white rhino in central Africa is also considered "possibly extinct."
Rhinoceroses are coveted for their horn, which is believed in some cultures to have healing powers for cancer. The numbers of both black and white rhinos have risen overall, but they are extremely vulnerable to poachers, who trade the valuable horns.
In light of the threats to rhinos, organizations like Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya are of utmost importance. Nature travelers on a custom Kenya and Tanzania safari can see these dwindling creatures in their natural habitat if they include time at Lake Nakuru, which has been declared a black rhino sanctuary. White rhinos and other species from South Africa have also been introduced there.
(Note: White rhinoceros pictured above)
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