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Monday, May 24, 2010

Black Rhinos Released Into Wild

Five black rhinos were moved to Tanzania in the first step to introduce the creatures to the wild. They have so far lived protected in a South African conservancy. After spending time in enclosures, acclimating to their new environment, the rhinos will be slowly introduced to their new wild worlds.

The critically endangered black rhinoceros differs from its not threatened white rhinoceros counterpart in only a few ways. Most notably, black rhinos feature a "hooked" lip, compared to the white rhino's squared lip. They are actually able to use these prehensile lips to grasp twigs and grass when eating. The black rhino is also smaller than the white rhino and has a proportionally smaller skull and ears.

Because of poaching and habitat destruction, black rhino populations dwindled from an estimated 70,000 in the last 1900s, to scarcely over 2,000 in the new millennium. Their horns are what have made them targets to hunters. The horns are used in traditional medicine to supposedly treat an array of illnesses. It is hoped that the introduction of these implanted rhinoceroses will help restore the population that poachers had almost eradicated.

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