“ No wild black rhinos remain in West Africa, according to the latest global assessment of threatened species. The Red List, drawn up by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has declared the subspecies extinct. “BBC News.
As well as declaring the western black rhino extinct, the IUCN records the northern white rhino, a subspecies in central Africa, is on the brink of extinction, if not already so.
The last Javan rhino outside Java, is also thought to have disappeared.
Overall numbers of black and white rhinos have been rising, but some subspecies have been particularly vulnerable to poaching by gangs who want to trade the animals’ valuable horns.
Simon Stuart, chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, told BBC News: “They had the misfortune of occurring in places where we simply weren’t able to get the necessary security in place. You’ve got to imagine an animal walking around with a gold horn; that’s what you’re looking at, that’s the value and that’s why you need incredibly high security.”
The annual Red List now records more threatened species than ever. 25% of the world’s mammals are at risk of extinction.
We grieve the loss of another beautiful animal. You can read more about it here.
Well, I didn’t want to leave you on a complete downer, so I thought I would share a rhino picture book, which always proved a popular read during library time.
Romeo the Rhino’s Rocky Romance – A Cautionary Tale about Differences by Michael Ackerman Ulick, illustrated by Will Guy
In the world of Romeo, the rhino, there is a clear separation between the ostrich and rhino communities. You will not find these pretty, feathered creatures anywhere near the muddy end of the watering hole, where the rhinos hang out. Thus it is in this community of discrimination and prejudice that Romeo finds himself head over heals in love with the shy ostrich, Astrid. It is not Astrid who rebuffs Romeo’s romantic wooing, but rather Astrid’s ant-rhino family and friends. Romeo’s heart is broken and he spends the night in a pool of tears. All seems lost when dawn brings the arrival of some hunters on the scene. Big hearted Romeo, knowing they are after ostrich feathers, immediately launches an appeal to save the ostriches. In turn, his community replies,
“Rhinos not ostriches are an endangered species. An besides, our horns are far more valuable than a bunch of their feathers.”
No, attempts on Romeo’s part to rally the rhinos to help, work, so what can a love-struck rhino do? He risks his own life, to save Astrid and her community. Well you can imagine the outcome!
The author has an afterword addressed to parents with very practical tips on how to help a child faced with discrimination and exclusion at school, which, naturally, this story addresses masterfully. The illustrations are comic, colorful and eye-catching for children.
This book is published by a small press called FOOTPRINTS PRESS, whose goal is to publish children’s books focused on moral and ethical issues that are written in an engaging, contemporary style.
#102 in the There’s A book Read To Me Picture Book Challenge