The decline of Africa's rhinos is one of the greatest wildlife tragedies of our time (6). Like its African cousin, the black rhinoceros, the white rhinoceros has suffered from habitat loss and poaching for the international rhino horn trade (1) (5). Rhino horn has two main markets; it is sold to Asian countries, particularly China, Taiwan and South Korea, for use in traditional medicine, and it is sold to Middle Eastern countries such as Yemen and Oman, which consider horn a prized material with which to make ornately carved handles for ceremonial daggers (jamiyas) (1) (5) (6). The situation has only been exacerbated for the northern subspecies by civil war, civil unrest and poverty in both the DRC and neighbouring Sudan, which has weakened any conservation efforts (1) (6). The northern white rhino was once widespread, with an estimated 2,250 individuals across five African states in 1960. In the ensuing years, however, poaching devastated populations to the point that, by 1984, numbers had fallen to a mere 15 animals, all restricted to the DRC's Garamba National Park (14). Habitat destruction and urbanisation have also affected white rhino populations (4).
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