Africa's Western black rhino declared extinct

Northern White Rhinos at the San Diego Wild Animal park in December 1996
Africa’s Western black rhino has officially been declared extinct and other subspecies of rhinoceros could follow, according to the latest review by a leading conservation organization.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature listed the Northern white rhino in central Africa as “possibly extinct in the wild” and the Javan rhino as “probably extinct” in Vietnam.

The organization blamed a lack of political support for conservation efforts in many rhino habitats, international organized crime groups targeting the animal, increasing illegal demand for rhino horns and commercial poaching.

PHOTOS: Threatened with extinction

“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.”

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