There’s a great deal of healthy debate over the role humans played in the extinction of megafauna at the end of the Pleistocene. But there’s no doubt about what, or rather who, knocked off one of the lucky survivors of that period. The Black Rhino survived wave after wave of ice sheets and bands of clever, hungry hominids. They will not survive the superstitions and greed of modern man:
(LATimes) — “In the case of both 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, chairman of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission, said in a statement Thursday. “These measures must be strengthened now, specifically managing habitats in order to improve breeding performance, preventing other rhinos from fading into extinction.” The last Javan rhino in Vietnam is believed to have been killed by poachers in 2010, reducing the species to a tiny, declining population in Java.
Just a hundred years ago the population of black rhinos was in the hundreds of thousands, today there are no known breeding pairs left in the wild (Although Midnight Ramblers notes in comments mammalogists are splitters and there could be more left depending on where one puts the fuzzy species line). It’s bad enough that we did this. What makes it so utterly appalling is the rhino was hunted to the death of the species not for food or out of fear, but mostly for its horn: the basis of faux folk medicine believed by superstitious idiots to cure male impotency. Try a fucking Viagra, assholes.