You may have heard of Sudan, the last living Northern White Rhinoceros, who is guarded night and day in Kenya. His caretakers humanly removed his horns to protect him from poachers. At one time attempts were made to mate him with the last living females of the subspecies but unfortunately all were well beyond their reproductive years. So Sudan is the last of his kind just as Martha was the last passenger pigeon (http://www.audubon.org/news/13-memories-martha-last-passenger-pigeon).
Sadly history keeps repeating itself.
There are five species of Rhinoceros: White, Black, Indian, Javan, and Sumatran. White Rhinoceros have two subspecies: the Southern White and the Northern White. Black Rhinoceros are native to Eastern and Central Africa and consists of several subspecies. Both species are found in Africa and contrary to their names they are similar in color. Unlike their African kin, the Indian rhino and Javan rhino have a single horn. The majority of the existing Indian Rhinoceros population can be found in the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal and the Terai region of Nepal, although they once spread across Asia. Only a few Javan Rhinoceros can be found in Indonesia. As of 2011 the species is extinct in Vietnam. The Sumatran Rhinoceros is the smallest of the rhinos and consists of two sub-species the Western and Eastern which can only be found on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.
Increasingly rhinos are under attack for their horns which are used in traditional medical practices and other uses. The rate of rhino deaths due to the quest for their horns escalated quickly over the past few years and is believed to be driven by newfound wealth in countries such as Vietnam where rhinoceros horns fetch a high a price for cancer treatment and other medical treatments. South Africa is home to the majority of the world’s rhino population and has stepped up protection but the rate of rhino deaths still increases. The Javan, Sumatran, and Black rhinos are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. The Indian rhino is listed as vulnerable and the White rhino is listed as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. There will be more Sudans in the future unless drastic measures are taken.
About the Illustration
Straight up acrylic on canvas. Nothing fancy
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