Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Saving a Rhino?

An excited report that Malaysian authorities hope to 'save' the Borneo Sumatran rhinoceros from extinction by using a newly captured female to breed with a zoo-based male seem wildly optimistic ( It is never easy to breed 'difficult' animals in captivity and any offspring would have a) limited genetic diversity and b) probable difficulties in adapting to a wild existence. Given that the number of such rhinoceros in the wild are estimated to be around 40 individuals, it is likely they will be extinct within a decade. Even the Southern white rhinoceros (illustrated), which is in a far better state population-wise, is far from safe.

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