Many of you may have heard that the last male Northern White Rhino passed away on march 19th of this year. His name was Sudan. This loss left the Northern White Rhino species virtually extinct. All that remains are Sudan's daughter and grand-daughter who both cannot breed. How did this happen? How did a species of rhino that once roamed freely across Uganda, Chad, Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo now become extinct?
Many would like to argue that this is part of nature, the natural selection, but this was not nature. This was man made extinction. Due to the ivory trade and the idea that rhino horn is medicinal (in traditional eastern medicine) the Northern White Rhino species was virtually destroyed. So badly, that in the 1960's there were 2,360 in the wild. A number that had already been reduced drastically, but by 2003 the killing of rhinos for ivory or "traditional eastern medicine" decimated the population leaving only 30 in the wild. This was not nature, natural extinction happens to 1 to 10 species per million, per year. In the case of man made extinction, this is occurring 1,000 times more frequently than the natural background. This is on us. And this type of extinction is extremely dangerous. You see, the loss of a species like the Northern White Rhino has a large impact on the eco system in the territory. This is a loss to Africa's eco system and natural heritage.
Researchers are trying to use a method in which they use the sperm collected over the years from the Northern White Rhino, use an egg from the remaining two females and find a surrogate from the closely related Southern White Rhino to carry the baby. Researchers have found success in mice but have yet to try in a larger species. There is hope to possibly bring back the species, but we will have to wait and see.
However, the sad truth is we have lost a beautiful species of rhino not to nature - but at the hand of humans. This occurrence is not just the case for the rhinos either. African and Asian Elephants are being poached to dangerously low numbers. In rain forests such as Indonesia, palm oil production is causing the loss of habitat for animals like Orangutans who's number are also dropping rapidly. Our ocean's coral reefs are being devastated, and just like the extinction of the Northern White Rhino, is all man made.
But we have the power to bring change! To not let this happen again to another species. What we buy can mean the difference for the future of wildlife across the globe. We can check to see if our products have palm oil, and if it does is it conflict free? We can choice to not support the ivory or fur trade. Even the smallest of our everyday choices impact the entire world. So simply being a little more conscious can mean all the difference in the world. Watching documentaries like Racing Extinction
can give us a wealth of knowledge to help make better decisions as well.
We can be the difference. We can better the world we all share. It is our duty to stand for wildlife and speak for those who cant speak for themselves.
If you would like to donate directly to our charity partner to help rhinos directly click HERE
. You can also purchase one of our items that donate 10% to International Rhino Foundation click HERE
to view the collection.