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And Now the Black Rhino Is Extinct

So it goes. No one’s sure exactly when it happened, but at some point recently, a poacher murdered the world’s last free black rhinoceros. There are a precious few still living in captivity—and perhaps even some lonely few still wandering around out there—but the International Union for Conservation of Nature has moved the creature from “critically endangered” to “extinct,” meaning the species’ chances at survival are virtually zero. It’s a fate conservationists fear may be awaiting rhinos as a whole, as their horns are prized on the black market for their (un-verified) medicinal value.

There are still several species of rhino in the world, but their chances are slender indeed. While the past two decades have seen a major and largely successful push to save the elephants, the same crowds have not arisen around the equally endangered rhino—though a few are trying. In fact, South Africa is planning to lobby for the relaxation of international rhino horn trade regulations …

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