The western black rhino of Africa has been declared extinct by a leading conservation group, and two other subspecies of rhinoceros are close to meeting the same fate.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said reassessments of the western black rhino had led it to declare the species extinct. It added that the northern white rhino of central Africa is now "possibly extinct" in the wild and the Javan rhino is "probably extinct" in Vietnam, after poachers killed the last animal there in 2010. A small but declining population of the Javan rhino survives on Java.
"A lack of political support and willpower for conservation efforts in many rhino habitats, international organised crime groups targeting rhinos and increasing illegal demand for rhino horns and commercial poaching are the main threats faced by rhinos," the group said in a statement accompanying the latest update of its Red List of endangered species.
About a quarter of all mammals are at risk of extinction, the IUCN said, adding some species have been brought back from the brink with conservation programmes. There were 100 southern white rhinos at the end of the 19th century, but it has since flourished.