Only Four Northern White Rhinos Remain

Nola is one of the last northern white rhinoceros in the world and currently resides in the San Diego Zoo.

timesofsandiego.com

Nola is one of the last northern white rhinoceros in the world and currently resides in the San Diego Zoo.

John Hiaasen , Staff Writer

In Africa, thousands of rhinoceros are being hunted down all for the keratin horn that grows from their heads, which is often used for decoration and is sometimes believed to cure illness. One subspecies of rhino, the northern white rhino, has been hunted down to near extinction; only four are left on earth, three of which are kept at Garamba national park under armed guard (one more, a female, is at the San Francisco zoo). Among these rhinos is the world’s last male rhino of its kind, Sudan, who is 41 years old.

Sudan is protected by armed guards and has had his horn removed to deter poachers.
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Sudan is protected by armed guards and has had his horn removed to deter poachers.

The value of rhinoceros horns has been increasing every year. Ten years ago, 13 rhinos were killed per year. Now, it’s over 1 thousand. Poaching has gotten so bad that some national parks sell their rhinos to avoid losing funding.

“I think the biggest problem regarding rhino poaching is that whatever laws are put in place won’t be followed … I think the best way to stop the killing is to take away the ivory’s worth,” junior Laura Stieghorst said.

Poacher's utter disregard for the life's of these gentle beasts is disheartening.
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Poachers’ utter disregard for the lives of these gentle beasts is disheartening.

Many countermeasures against poaching have been experimented with over the years, one of which is surgically removing rhinoceros’ horns. The problem with this method is that it has caused problems in subjects’ lifestyles, making day to day activities in the wild more difficult. At this point, the only hope for the northern white rhino’s survival is to breed it with the southern white rhino, resulting in a hybrid species.

Rhino horn is in high demand due to its supposed health benefits.
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Horns taken from rhinos are in high demand from buyers in Asia due to their supposed health benefits.

Due to the actions of humans, the rhino population has plummeted, but this has been ignored because of the value of their precious horns. The northern white rhinos are one of the first who face extinction, much like the black rhino that was pronounced extinct and has not been seen since 2006. If laws are not enforced, these behemoths may die out soon.