Black rhino population numbers in Africa have been recovering slowly in the past decade, from a total number of 4,845 animals in 2012 to 5,630 in 2018. Conservation efforts to save the black rhino from extinction have included translocating individuals from established groups to new locations to ensure viable breeding populations, and improved anti-poaching measures. In South Africa, there has been a consistent decline in poaching from a peak in 2015, when an average of 3.7 rhinos per day were killed for their horn, which is prized in China and Vietnam as a cure for a variety of ailments. There have, however, been spikes in poaching levels of white rhino—which typically have larger horns than black rhino—in the Kruger National Park in northeastern South Africa, one of Africa’s largest game reserves.
Why It Matters
With climate change already devastating natural habitats, efforts to minimize human contribution to species extinction is more critical than ever. Rhino species have been some of the hardest hit in Africa, with the northern white rhino and western black rhino dying out in the wild in the past few years. Rhino conservation benefits local communities, as wildlife tourism provides jobs. The animal is also important for a healthy ecosystem. The rhino is considered an umbrella species, which means that other species depend on it. For example, black rhino browse on shrubs and low trees, preventing overgrowth, which would change the landscape and make it unsuitable for larger antelope species.