Living on Earth’s Jennifer Chu reports on efforts to rehabilitate the black rhino.
CURWOOD: Just ahead: trying to reap a dividend of peace by bringing a culture and its language back from the brink of extinction. First, this note on emerging science from Jennifer Chu.
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CHU: Efforts like South Africa’s Black and White Rhino Management and Conservation Project are helping to put the almost-extinct black rhino on the road to recovery. The black rhino population dropped to roughly 2,400 in the 1990s from previous estimates of 100,000 in the 1960s. The numbers fell when demand for rhino horn, used for everything from dagger handles to anti-fever medication, caused rampant poaching throughout Africa.
A black rhinocerous (Photo: Courtesy of Harry Foundalis, CRCC, Indiana University)
By keeping the groups small, female rhinos are kept in top breeding condition rather than being forced to compete with other females for food. Scientists hope such efforts will mirror the success of the black rhino’s bigger cousin, the white rhino, the world’s second largest mammal. The white rhino population once dwindled to just fifty a century ago, but today stands at 11,000. That’s this week’s Note on Emerging Science. I’m Jennifer Chu.
CURWOOD: And you’re listening to NPR’s Living on Earth.
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