Western Black Rhino declared extinct
Nov 10, 2011
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has declared the western black rhino extinct, the BBC reports.
The organization's updated Red List, which indicates the risk of a species extinction, records more threatened species than ever before, including the listing of the northern white rhino as possibly extinct and the Javan rhino of Vietnam as probably extinct, after a poacher killed the last known one there in 2010, according to MSNBC.
The organization stated that a quarter of all mammals are at risk of extinction, despite conservation efforts. Rhinos are particularly at risk because their horn is a coveted ingredient in traditional Eastern medicine. Although scientists say there is no evidence to support it, tradition says that it can ward off or cure cancer.
"You've got to imagine an animal walking around with a gold horn; that's what you're looking at, that's the value and that's why you need incredibly high security," Simon Stuart, chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, told BBC News.
Of the recently-extinct black rhino, Stuart told the news outlet that they had "the misfortune of occurring in places where we simply weren't able to get the necessary security in place."