It wasn't long ago I grieved the extinction of the Western black rhino.
This week, the world officially acknowledges the loss of another sub-species of 'charismatic mega fauna' - Vietnam's mysterious and fascinating Java rhino, obliterated from existence, forever, by poachers and hunters, just to make a few dollars worth of questionably-helpful 'tonics', 'remedies' and charms.
I used to work with rhinos. Rhinos are cool. They are personable, beautiful, prehistoric-looking, impressive - And the Earth is one step closer to losing the entire family of rhinoceros (consisting of five remaining species) forever.
The Western black and Javan rhino, both hunted to extinction, both in my own lifetime. Erased. Stolen from the planet, and from those of us, like me, who love them.
I wish I could say the Earth is better for our presence, but there is not a single wild system left on Earth, as far as we know, that has not been tainted by humans. I pray we can learn to live more lightly on our Mother Earth before we pull one thread too many out of Her grand tapestry.
I hurt for each irreplaceable living treasure we drive out of existence.
I grieve for the Javan rhino.
RIP, glorious one-horned beast of the jungle.
UPDATED 1/06/13 (Edited for length)
Here's the short, quick uptake:
Want to help stop poaching:and protect the last rhinos and elephants? Sign these petitions to strengthen poaching penalties and expand protected Javan rhino habitat. From the petition to save the Indonesian Javan rhino:
"There are fewer than 50 Javan rhinos left on the planet. Unless we take action now to protect and expand the Javan rhino population, we could lose this species forever. The only viable population of Javan rhinos is confined to Indonesia's small Ujung Kulon National Park on the island of Java -- and these animals are quite literally stuck between a rock and a hard place. With the species' entire viable population living in this one precarious location, Javan rhinos face a significant risk of extinction from a single natural disaster or introduced disease."
Beyond signing petitions, write letters, apply political/econmic pressure to decision-makers, and spread awareness of this urgent problem. The World Wildlife Fund gives more Javan rhino info, here.