This has indubitably been a bad year for rhinos, particularly if you are a rhino subspecies. As many would know the rarest rhino subspecies is the Northern White Rhino, with only 8 individuals. But a year ago we correctly should have said it was the Vietnamese subspecies of the Javan rhino. There are only around 50-60 Javan Rhinos, 3 of these were the Vietnamese Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus), in Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam. Sadly a month or so ago this subspecies was declared extinct. Sad on so many levels, but particularly when the rarest rhino species loses another bit of diversity. Now the Javan Rhino only exists in Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, a stable population that is well protected but highly prone to disease and unlikely to expand due to a lack of land. The Javan Rhino used to be the most widespread of all Asian rhinos, with three subspecies, sadly they now rank as one of the rarest animals in the world.
When I was a young boy the Black Rhino was the most plentiful of all rhinos, but sadly this year the West African Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) subspecies became extinct. This subspecies used to live in Cameroon but sadly no longer does. It is indeed sad that in this day and age we are seeing the continued killing of these large herbivores to fuel a moronic and unsubstantiated belief that rhino horn (made of Keratin – the same stuff as your fingernails) had medicinal value in Traditional Chinese medicine. Through this misguided value these beautiful creatures are hunted mercifully.
A sad indictment on our species if you ask me.