Western Black Rhino Now Extinct, Other Rhino Species at Risk Says Conservation Group

The world's most respected animal conservation organizations revealed that the western black rhino is now officially extinct.

On Wednesday the International Union for Conservation of Nature revealed that the western black rhino, which is found in Africa, was last seen in the wild in 2006 and was previously classified as "critically endangered."

"In the case of the western black rhino and the northern white rhino the situation could have had very different results if the suggested conservation measures had been implemented," Simon Stuart, chair of the IUCN species survival commission, said in a statement. "These measures must be strengthened now, specifically managing habitats in order to improve performance, preventing other rhinos from fading into extinction."

Conservationists maintain that unchecked and widespread poaching coupled with the absences of a coherent conservation policy specifically for the species led to the animal's extinction.

There are other rhino species that are also endangered of becoming extinct. Africa's northern white rhino is reportedly "teetering on the brink of extinction," according to CNN, and Asia's Javan rhino is "making its last stand."

The IUCN recently published the most updated version of its Red List of Threatened Species. The report found more than 60,000 species of animals and plants are endangered while also stating that roughly a quarter of mammals found on the list are on threatened with extinction, according to CNN.

"This update offers both good and bad news on the status of many species around the world," Jane Smart, director of IUCN's global species program, said in a statement. "We have the knowledge that conservation works if executed in a timely manner, yet, without strong political will in combination with targeted efforts and resources, the wonders of nature and the services it provides can be lost forever."