As poachers continue to go unchecked, several endangered species across the world face total extinction, the northern white rhino among them. This widespread problem, propelled by the high demand for rhinoceros horn, has pushed the northern white rhino near extinction, posing a heartbreaking scenario for conservationists everywhere. This has been a sad event that’s been decades in the making, to the point where the future of the northern white rhino as a subspecies looks devastatingly bleak.
Poaching Has Deeply Impacted Rhino Populations
The significant decrease in wild northern white rhino populations has been mostly due to extreme poaching on the part of illegal traders across Africa. Due to their lack of natural predators, northern white rhinos are quite susceptible to poaching. Rhinos are poached for a variety of reasons, but the main one is their horns. There is a large demand for rhino horns in different Asian countries, in part due to their perceived medical properties, but mostly as a symbol and signifier of wealth. Despite international bans on rhino horn trade and established protections in different countries, poaching is very hard to regulate, with an estimated 3% of poachers actually getting apprehended.
There Are No Northern White Rhinos in the Wild
In a matter of a decade, the wild population of northern white rhinos went from well over five hundred to just fifteen. This has had a serious impact across intended conservation efforts, leading to a lack of enough genetic diversity for offspring to be conceived. For a number of years, efforts were made in zoos and reserves across the world for northern white rhinos to reproduce, but results were almost always unsuccessful. Only one zoo in the world has seen northern white rhino born in captivity, the Dv?r Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic. Their last northern white rhino offspring was born in 2000, and the current population of the subspecies consists of thee descendants of those born there.
Only Two Northern White Rhinos Are Left in the World
Only two northern white rhinos remain alive, both in captivity at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. They are both female and they are both considered infertile after several attempts at artificial insemination using preserved semen samples. All of these attempts at forced reproduction were unsuccessful, resulting in virtual extinction. However, as terrible as these conditions might seem, scientists still see a glimmer of hope to prevent total northern white rhino extinction.
Northern White Rhino Near Extinction
Is the northern white rhino near extinction? Yes, definitely. But if even if they 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.