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Down to 5

There used to be nearly 100 species of rhino. Now there are only 5, and they're hanging on by a thread. 

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent holds a confiscated contra-band rhino horn seized at customs

Left: A rhino horn seized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that was intended for sale on the black market. 

 

 

A Costly Mistake

Reaching up to 4 feet in length, their horn is their signature. But at the end of that fierce-looking spear is a tender face. While the rhino is still alive poachers ruthlessly hack off its horn. Part of their face goes with it, leaving the animal to suffer and die. One rhino horn can garner millions of dollars on the black market. It’s worth more than gold or cocaine. But what a cruel joke: rhino horn is just keratin—the same as your hair and fingernails.

 

 

Northern White Rhino, Nola, looking off into the distance as she faces a body of blue water

Nola, seen here at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in 2015, was one of four northern white rhinos left in the world at the time. With her death, there are only three left. 

3

northern white rhinos left on the planet

The Harder They Fall

Poaching has devastated wild rhino populations, and now it’s a race against time to save these magnificent giants. All rhino species are critically endangered. African populations of rhinos have been decimated, with some species hovering on the brink of extinction. One subspecies, the Northern White Rhino, is functionally extinct, with 3 living animals surviving—but none able to breed.

A pair of rhinos on the African savanna

Together, we can
turn things around.

176

the number of rhinos born in our breeding programs. A record for the most born in a zoo.

Nola wading into a pond atet he San Diego Zoo Safari Park

 

 

Science to the Rescue

While all rhino species are critically endangered, the northern white rhino has suffered worst of all. Decades of rampant poaching have left just 3 on Earth. None are able to breed, but we have a plan to bring them back.

 

 

Nikita Kahn Rescue Center

Left: Located at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center is dedicated to the conservation of white rhinos through assisted reproductive techniques. These six southern white rhino ladies are our hope for bring Northern White Rhinos back from extinction. Right: With only 18,000 estimated southern white rhinos left in the world, each birth is crucial. The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has seen the birth of more than 90 calves.

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calves depend on their moms for up to 4 years, making poaching of young mothers doubly devastating as their orphaned babies often die too

San Diego Zoo Global has the most successful rhino breeding program of its kind in the world. Generous donations from friends like you built the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This one-of-a-kind sanctuary is home to 6 rescued rhinos, and is dedicated to the conservation and reproduction of white rhinos. With help from our Frozen Zoo® and surrogate southern white rhino moms, we are embarking on a cutting-edge program to bring the northern white rhino back from the brink of extinction. Will you help us?

Rhino on African savannah