Last week marked another scathing indictment of humanity’s indifference to other life on our planet – the official declaration of the extinction of the Western Black Rhino by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The announcement was fittingly made on Remembrance Day. In its latest assessment of the situation, the IUCN says two other sub-species of rhinoceros also are close to extinction. All due to the ignorant belief that rhino horn has some magical, medicinal powers.
Although predictable, it still feels surreal to me – that a species of charismatic megafauna, such as this rhino, could become extinct in my lifetime. Like when I heard that the World Trade Centre had collapsed. That it can’t be true sort of feeling.
I won’t go into how each and every species has a place in the web of life; or how the loss of biological diversity to poaching, habitat destruction, pollution, climate change, etc., is jeopardizing the very fabric of our fragile planet; or what a shameful legacy this is, to pass down to our children and our grandchildren.
Instead, I’ll just grieve. RIP rhinos. Sleep well. We can’t hurt you anymore.