Black Rhinos Extinct!

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“ 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. 

Poaching Threat

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

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24 Responses to Black Rhinos Extinct!

  1. Heidi Grange says:

    Rhinos and ostriches, an interesting choice, sure to catch a child’s attention. Real gems can be found sometimes from smaller publishers. Thanks for highlighting this one.

  2. Excellent post. I didn’t realize that the black rhinos were extinct. The the fact that 25% of the world’s mammals are at risk of extinction, is not good. How are we going to turn these tragedies around before it’s too late. Enjoyed the Rhino and ostrich book — great messaage for kids on discrimination. And yes, I hope you do take not of the smaller presses.

    By the way, when your page came up it was totally black. I had to hit the comments to bring up a white page. Perhaps a fluke. I still get a fatal error when I sign in — I just hit post twice, but it does take it.

  3. Joanna says:

    They have only just been declared extinct, Pat. It was in the news today.

    Thanks for mentioning you are still having problems, I shall have to contact WordPress 🙁

  4. Horrifying and heartbreaking news, yet another species extinct because people think they “need” something so badly that they refuse to consider the implications.

    The picture book you cite is a good counterbalance — at first glance a light-hearted story, but with a sound and necessary message.

    Thank you.

    (And I’m still getting fatal errors, too. I do wish they could come up with an alternate word to use instead of “fatal”! That seems a bit of an overstatement.)

  5. Joanna says:

    Isn’t it so sad to think never again will black rhinos walk this earth.

    Haha “fatal error” does sound rather like a countdown to certain extermination!

  6. Susanna says:

    Love your picture, but so sad about the rhinos. Thanks for not ending on a downer – the picture book looks cute. How are those blue knees? 🙂

    • Joanna says:

      Susanna, the bruise on the right knee is turning a beautiful Mauve! But I am about to go out and play tennis! By the way did you guys still have problems posting as I did some troubleshooting last night and think I may have solved the problem?

  7. That’s terrible about the black rhino. I didn’t realize. I remember on safari there was a mom cheetah and her cubs. Our guide reported a suspicious vehicle near them (it didn’t appear to be tourists like us). He feared they were poachers trying to grab the cubs for a private park. We lingered forever there, but it was a beautiful, fun site. The book sounds interesting and oddly hits on something I was doing yesterday in my neighborhood … I’ll have to read it.

  8. Joanna says:

    The report came out yesterday, Stacy. You had a truly rare privilege of seeing one of the few last black rhinos five years ago! Poaching is such a complex issue. Many are out and out crooks, but many are simply trying to survive and feed families, too.

  9. I’m back for the sole purpose of testing out the troubleshooting you just did. I will post again after saving this comment, to report my results.

  10. Joanna says:

    Thank you so much, Beth. As a complete non-techy, I am kind of chuffed that I managed to resolved the problem myself!

  11. I really hate hearing about animal extinctions, but this one is especially tough. Thanks for the book review, though, I’ll definitely check this one out for my nephew.

  12. Joanna says:

    I feel gutted each time, Gail. So much is being done and yet we continue to destroy so many mazing species.

  13. Great post Joanna. Anything to do with saving animals has me hooked.

    Happier note.. I have no troubles coming to your blogs, just a bit slow of late due to so much going on….:-)

  14. Joanna says:

    Glad the blog problems seem resolved 😉

  15. That makes me so sad! (about the rhinos – not the book). On the other hand, a rhino and ostrich love story sounds wonderful.

  16. Laurie says:

    That is so sad about the Rhinos! While I can see how it is complicated, and some poachers are just trying to survive, it is still heart-breaking. Such a magnificent animal.

    We’ll give this book a try. We live in a pretty sheltered bubble, but this seems like a good introduction to the concept. My boys certainly know about such things, but more on a world event scale- not as much when it comes to children interacting with each other.

  17. Joanna says:


    I am in the process of writing a series of picture books presenting different endangered species in story form, exactly for an audience like your boys.

  18. LadyInRead says:

    I hate when I hear news about animals becoming extinct or getting on endangered list – it is almost like we are not taking care of family. thank you for this great book find.. my son also keeps himself updated on extinct/endangered lists – he started it as part of a project for cub scouts and he is now interested himself.

  19. Joanna says:

    LadyinRead, this is how I see it too. It’s a loss to the whole family. I am sure you son is also discovering there are many great picture books out there on this topic.

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