Wednesday, August 16, 2006

No more Black Rhinos

The World Conservation Union has announced that the West African black rhinoceros might be extinct. The North African white rhino seems to be following suit, with possibly just four individuals remaining in the wild.

This news took me by surprise. Though I'm not sure why. For years conservationists have been warning me about this. I know quite well about the poaching epidemic, the habitat encroachment, the declining populations. I've read figures telling me that a hundred species become extinct everyday. This was but imminent. So why do I act so surprised, shocked even? Why do I find it difficult to believe that humans can destroy such a big, powerful beast? Is it because I see them on television all the time? Surely, if the baby rhino frolics on the telly, everything must be all right in its world, I tell myself, quietly ignoring the fact that the documentary was filmed ten years ago. Perhaps it's because the rhino is such a high-profile animal. I must subconsciously have equated their popularity with plentitude. I see fat men in shopping malls dressed in purple rhino suits and decide Nah, they can't go extinct. They are bloody everywhere.

The fact that the black rhino was such a high-profile species is what makes this even scarier. There were national parks for these animals. Whole safaris were organized to watch them graze. Hell, they were even on postage stamps. It's not like they were some obscure insect in some forgotten rainforest. Who cares if the Xerces blue moth goes extinct. So what if it was a keystone species. No one's ever heard of it. No one cares. But the rhino, that's different. That has got to hurt. At least, I sure hope so.

I can't imagine how I'll react when the tiger goes extinct.


At August 17, 2006 at 4:10 PM, Blogger Shashank said...

SAD :-( ! I have to see them now in the nearest wildlife sanctuary and click some picture with it before it become extinct. Then I can show to my kid that once upon a lime long long ago there lived a "Beast".....!!!


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