Famously endangered, it is well known across the world that the northern white rhino is critically endangered. After the recent decades saw a rapid decrease in the wild population of northern white rhinos. The last few years have seen the slow decline of the captive population. This didn’t happen from one day to the other. The extinction of the northern white rhino was a gradual process, pushed forward by illegal poaching, trading, and neglect.
Range of the Northern White Rhino
The natural range for the northern white rhino was actually quite limited. The subspecies used to roam northwestern Uganda, southern South Suda, eastern Central African Republic, and northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is thought that they even ranged as far west as Lake Chad, well into Cameroon and Chad. Sadly, nowadays it is believed that there are no northern white rhinos left in the wild. It’s sister species, the southern white rhino, still have a an estimated population of around twenty-thousand individuals. The only living northern white rhinos can be found in a natural reserve in Africa. Sadly, the species is now considered biologically extinct.
Poaching During the 1970s
During the 1970s and the 1980s, the natural population of northern white rhinos suffered a lot from poaching, and their numbers went from 500 to just fifteen in a matter of years. This happened because rhinos are fairly easy to poach given their easily followed routines, and their horns are highly-sought after in the global black market. While the international trade of rhinoceros horn has been declared illegal since 1977, they are used in different parts of Africa for dagger handles and as part of traditional medicine in parts of Asia. Cultural misconceptions about the horns’ possible use as an aphrodisiac or a cure for cancer have fueled the poaching of the animals.
Recovery and Subsequent Decline
Between the 1990s and the early 2000s, the population of northern white rhinos managed to significantly recover momentaneously. They went from fifteen to more than thirty. However, poaching intensified since and reduced the wild population to nothing. As previously mentioned, there are no more northern white rhinos in the wild. The only remaining two northern white rhinos in the world are in captivity at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Both are female, and although there have been attempts to get them pregnant through artificial insemination, both are considered biologically unable to have offspring. This has led to the biological extinction of the white rhino being declared.
Extinction of the Northern White Rhino
Even if northern white rhinos are effectively extinct in the wild, there is still an opportunity to reverse their total extinction. For the first time in history, the necessary technology exists to reverse biological extinction using artificial insemination and in vitro gestation. However, this is a very expensive operation, which is why scientists need money in order to perform this procedure and save the subspecies from disappearing forever. Time is of the essence, so if you are interested in helping reverse the extinction of the northern white rhino, use our website to donate what you can.