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San Diego Zoo Global provides sanctuary to critically endangered rhinos

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Commentary – Sanctuaries and zoos are the last chance for critically endangered animals like the northern white rhino to live their lives free from poachers.

While searching Facebook for interesting posts, I stumbled upon the San Diego Zoo Global page. On August 31, 2014, it gave a “shout out” to Nola and Angalifu; two northern white rhinos. After doing some research, it was discovered that this specie of rhino is extinct in the wild and only seven remain in the world; living the remainder of their lives in captivity. Along with Nola and Angalifu at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park, “one rhino resides at the Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic and four are part of a captive breeding program at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya”. At this time, it is doubtful that the two females and two males will successfully breed.

Many people posted thankful comments to San Diego Zoo Global for taking good care of the two rhinos. However, there were several individuals stating the same old ideological rhetoric that wild animals should never be in captivity. It was those comments that resulted in this commentary.

The northern white rhinoceros once roamed the lands in southern Chad, the Central African Republic, southwestern Sudan, northeastern Zaire, Democratic Republic of Congo and northwestern Uganda. In the late 1960’s, there were at least 2,000 of these animals living free. But by 1984, only 15 rhinos remained as a result of poaching. It is fair to assume that if today’s remaining 7 were left free in their natural environment; the northern white rhino species would have long become extinct.

In a perfect world, there would be no such thing as extinction let alone poaching. The Earth would exist is perfect balance with all her life forms living and coexisting in peace. Sadly, extinction is a reality for many animal species; such as the Amur leopard, black rhino, Bengal tiger, blue whale, and Asian elephant. The listing of endangered and critically endangered species is numerous and continually growing. Therefore, sanctuaries and zoos like San Diego Zoo Global are the only chance for many of these animals like Nola and Angalifu to live their lives without the threat of poachers and possibly survive extinction.

Do you agree or object to endangered and critically endangered species living in zoos and sanctuaries? Please let me know your thoughts.

“San Diego Zoo Global is a conservation organization dedicated to the science of saving endangered species worldwide. San Diego Zoo Global operates three world-class facilities: the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Our conservation work takes place locally at these three campuses and reaches beyond to more than 100 conservation field projects in 35 countries. Our organization’s vision is to lead the fight against extinction.”

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