The western black rhino is now officially extinct, says a conservation group. The western black rhino was formerly endemic to Africa.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said that the western black rhino, which was listed on the Red List of Threatened Species, was last seen in 2006, CNN reported.
The IUCN also added that the white rhino is “teetering on the brink of extinction” and the Asia’s Javan rhino is also under duress due to poaching and human encroachment.
“In the case of the western black rhino and the northern white rhino the situation could have had very different results if the suggested conservation measures had been implemented,” Simon Stuart, with the IUCN, said in a statement.
He added: “These measures must be strengthened now, specifically managing habitats in order to improve performance, preventing other rhinos from fading into extinction.”
But he stressed that conservation efforts helped bolster the population of southern white rhinos. There were less than 100 in the 19th century but there are now more than 20,000 today.
Earlier this year, the IUCN said in a statement that nearly 2,400 rhinos have been poached across Africa since 2006 and some species are at their lowest levels since 1995.
“Well-organized and well-funded crime syndicates are continuing to feed the growing black market with rhino horn,” Mike Knight, Chairman of the IUCN SSC African Rhino Specialist Group, said in the statement.
“Over the past few years, consumer use of rhino horn has shifted from traditional Asian medicine practices to new uses, such as to convey status. High levels of consumption – especially the escalating demand in Viet Nam – threaten to soon reverse the considerable conservation gains achieved over the last two decades.”