The Rhinoceros. This species is heavily threatened by poaching for its precious horn, which is used in Chinese medicine and can reach exorbitant prices on the black market. The event was first established in South Africa in 2010 and aims to draw attention to the growing threat that poaching and illegal trade in rhino horns poses to the survival of these species. It also aims to raise awareness of the need to protect rhinos, to promote concrete actions for their conservation and to promote awareness of their crucial roles in ecosystems.
There are five species of rhinoceros: the white rhinoceros and the black rhinoceros in Africa. The Indian rhinoceros, the Javan rhinoceros and the Sumatran rhinoceros in Asia. Thanks to initiatives aimed at the conservation of this animal, from 2012 to 2018, the black rhino population increased by an average of 2.5% per year, from 4,845 to 5,630 individuals. In detail, data from the IUCN (2020) describe a positive trend for the population of the south-western black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis bicornis), which now numbers 2,390 specimens and has grown from the 'critically endangered' to the 'vulnerable' classification of the Red Lists. Of the other subspecies, the population of the south-central black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis minor) has 2,196 individuals, and is still classified as 'critically endangered'. The eastern black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) also remains in the most serious threat category of the Red Lists: there are only an estimated 1,044 specimens in the wild. By contrast, the western black rhinoceros is now declared extinct in the wild.
Both black and white rhinoceroses are threatened by poaching. Although it has decreased since 2015, sadly enough too many rhinos are still killed by poachers every year. The WWF data sare extremely clears: despite the fact that from 2012 to 2018 the population of black rhinoceroses managed to increase by 2.5% per year thanks to protection and conservation projects, this species is still at risk. According to 2020 data from the IUCN, the southwestern black rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis bicornis , numbered 2,390. Its population grew from the Red List classification 'critically endangered' to 'vulnerable'.
Unfortunately for other subspecies, the situation has not improved. The south-central black rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis minor, 2,196 in number, is still considered 'critically endangered'. The same applies to the eastern black rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis michaeli, still 'critically endangered' with its 1,044 specimens. The western black rhinoceros, however, is extinct in the wild.
What about the white rhinoceros? Although more specimens are found in Africa, between 2012 and 2017 the number dropped by 15%, from 21,300 specimens to 18,000. As for the three Asian subspecies, the numbers are in some cases lower. While there are still 3,600 Indian rhinos in the wild, there are only 72 Java rhinos, while the Sumatran rhinoceros numbers 80 specimens.