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Western black rhino said extinct

Nov. 11, 2011 at 7:40 PM

GLAND, Switzerland, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- The Western black rhino has been declared extinct, with none of the animals remaining in West Africa, a U.N. global assessment of threatened species has found.

In the latest update of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, which includes reassessments of several rhinoceros species, the Western Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) has officially been declared extinct.

Additionally, the IUCN said in a release Thursday, the subspecies of the white rhino in central Africa, the Northern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), is teetering on the brink of extinction and has been listed as possibly extinct in the wild.

"Human beings are stewards of the earth and we are responsible for protecting the species that share our environment," Simon Stuart, chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, said. "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."

He noted the conservation successes achieved with the Southern White Rhino subspecies (Ceratotherium simum simum), which has increased from a population of fewer than 100 at the end of the 19th century to an estimated wild population of over 20,000.

"These measures must be strengthened now, specifically managing habitats in order to improve breeding performance, preventing other rhinos from fading into extinction," he said.

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