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Between 19, black rhino numbers dropped by a sobering 98%, to less than 2,500.
Since then, the species has made a tremendous comeback from the brink of extinction.
WWF launched an international effort to save wildlife in 1961, rescuing black rhinos—among many other species—from the brink of extinction.
Today, black rhinos remain critically endangered because of rising demand for rhino horn, from some Asian consumers, particularly in Vietnam and China, who use them in folk remedies.
Wildlife crime—in this case, poaching and black-market trafficking of rhino horn—continues to plague the species and threaten its recovery.
In an enormous setback for wildlife conservation, China announced it will allow hospitals to use tiger bone and rhino horn from captive-bred animals for traditional medicine.
The surveys are critical for evaluating breeding success, deterring poachers, and monitoring rhino mortality.
WWF is also working with partners to develop and implement cutting-edge technologies in Namibia, South Africa, and Kenya to closely monitor key populations.