The rarest rhino in the world can be found wallowing in the mud at the Ol Pejeta Nature Conservancy in Kenya. Constantly guarded by vigilant rifle-clad guards, these two animals have no idea that they are the last members of their kind. They are northern white rhinos – the very last northern white rhinos anywhere on Earth. They have been poached to the very edge of extinction, with virtually no hope for recovery.
South Africa is in the midst of a rhino poaching epidemic. The statistics concerning this illegal practice over the past decade or so make for very grim reading. Between 1990 and 2007, there were relatively few rhino poaching incidents in South Africa. Five in 1991, nine in 2001, and thirteen in 2007, to give just a few figures. Poaching was increasing every year – but only slightly.
Everyone’s favourite naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, returns to our screens tonight with a brand-new one-off documentary. Called Extinction: The Facts (a follow-up to last year’s Climate Change: The Facts), it will look at how human overpopulation, rampant over-consumption, the illegal wildlife trade, climate change, overfishing, pollution and land-use change are all driving the loss of biodiversity across the world.
Back before COVID-19 dominated the headlines, before even the massive fires in Australia destroyed thousands of homes and killed billions of animals, another part of the world was burning. I can still remember seeing, on an online news article almost exactly a year ago, in August 2019, the almost apocalyptic images of huge fires devastating the Amazon rainforest. Smoke from the blaze, the article stated,