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- Global rhino numbers increase to 27,000.
- Southern white rhino numbers rise for the first time since 2012.
- Black rhino population saw a nearly 5 percent growth in 2022.
The IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group disclosed that by the close of the previous year, the global rhino population touched approximately 27,000. Up from 26,272 in 2021, writes The Guardian.
Southern white rhinos, in particular, saw a jump for the first time since 2012, growing from 15,942 in 2021 to 16,803.
Black rhinos, which predominantly inhabit east and southern Africa, have been drastically reduced over the years, mainly because of poaching. However, 2022 saw an upswing of almost 5 percent in their numbers, with the count rising from 6,195 to 6,487.
Dr. Michael Knight, chair of the IUCN rhino group, expressed optimism, saying, "With this good news, we can take a sigh of relief for the first time in a decade."
Challenges still ahead
While the overall numbers indicate progress, not all species are faring well. The Javan and Sumatran rhinos remain in critical danger, with their numbers dwindling. The Sumatran rhino population, for instance, is estimated at a concerning 80, although some believe it could be as low as 34. On a brighter note, last March, a female Sumatran rhino was successfully born in captivity in Indonesia.
Poaching, unfortunately, is still a looming threat. Africa recorded 561 rhinos killed in 2022, up from 501 in 2021. But it's worth noting that these figures are a decline from the staggering 1,349 rhinos poached in 2015.
In India and Nepal, the greater one-horned rhino population remains stable at around 4,000.