Monday, 13 May 2013

Another possible solution for the rhino

Continuing on the rhino poaching topic, with the Black Rhino, Northern White Rhino, and Javan Rhino nearing extinction in the wild,  it is high time for conservationists to enact programs to save these species. Historically, species like the Southern White Rhino, Przewalski's Horse, and bison have returned from the brink of extinction due to successful captive breeding programs in which species are bred in zoos and nature preserves, then reintroduced to their original habitats. If poaching cannot be shut down and habitats protected effectively over the next couple years, the same approach may be necessary to keep the critically endangered species of rhinoceros alive.

Captive breeding and reintroduction programs are criticized because they do not prioritize the need to restore habitat, and they are costly and sometimes fail. Most of all, people argue that we should rescue species before they reach the brink of extinction. But when the strongest efforts to save the rhino have not been able to keep their numbers from declining, there may be no choice but to work with the captive rhinos we have left. The IUCN Species Survival Commission chair Simon Stuart said, "Human beings are stewards of the Earth and we are responsible for protecting the species that share our environment." In response, I would argue that we are responsible for protecting not all species, but the species that we have directly or indirectly caused to decline. If the last straw for protection means captive breeding, then we have no choice but to try it!


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