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RHINOS AND US

Only in the most recent flash of geological time have modern humans and rhinos shared this planet. Rhinos and their ancestors had been around for some 55 million years before our lineage started to trace its own evolutionary path. This timeline highlights moments along the journey of human-rhino interaction from about 700,000 years ago to the present. Sadly, for all but the most recent decades of that journey humans have not been caring companions, as only now has the battle to save rhinos from extinction at our hands been engaged in earnest.

Circa 700,000–300,000 BCE

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Archeological sites as distant from each other as Boxgrove in the UK and the island of Luzon in the Philippines show evidence of rhinos
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Circa 300,000 BCE

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Homo sapiens emerged around this time, but it took another 250,000 years or so before our behaviorally modern ancestors made their appearance.
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Circa 70,000 BCE

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It has been suggested that around this time the human population might have been recovering from a genetic bottleneck caused by the massive Toba volcanic eruption and the persistent global winter that ensued.
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Circa 32,000 BCE

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The world was a cold, unforgiving place as the peak of the Last Glacial Maximum approached. Human population estimates for this time are sketchy at best ...
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Circa 12,000 BCE

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The last Ice Age was drawing to a close and around this time rhinos disappeared from Western Europe. The Narrow-nosed Rhino Stephanorhinus hemitoechus and the Woolly Rhino faded into oblivion.
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3200–1100 BCE

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This mold of a seal from the Indus Valley civilization dates from 2500–1500 BCE and depicts an apparently single-horned creature.
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Circa 2000 BCE

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A rhino rock engraving on the Djado Pateau in northeast Niger is where some of the art like this one is thought to be several thousand years old, possibly even older.
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475–221 BCE

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This rhino-shaped bronze belt hook inlaid with gold and silver was unearthed in Sichuan in 1954 and dates back to China’s Warring States Period.
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404 BCE

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The Greek physician Ctesias of Cnidus, serving in the Persian court of Artaxerxes II (depicted on this coin), described a creature that could be found in India that had a "purple head and carried a single horn upon its forehead".
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Circa 200 BCE

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A bronze wine vessel with gold and silver inlays from the Western Han Dynasty in China (206 BCE–9 CE).
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Circa 300 BCE

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It is believed that about 2,300 years ago the renowned Chinese engineer Li Bing created a system to prevent flooding of the Min River on the Sichuan Plains.
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26 BCE

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The Roman Emperor Augustus (who reigned from 27 BCE to 14 CE) received a gift of a rhino from an Indian sultan.
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Circa 10 BCE

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Rhinos depicted in the Tsodilo Hills in Botswana, now a World Heritage rock art site where some 4,500 paintings have so far been recorded.
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Circa 1–50 CE

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The first century of the common era (CE) embraced a time of increasing Roman domination of Europe, North Africa and the Near East.
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90 CE

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Julius Maternus, a noted Roman explorer, was probably the first European to see a wild African rhino ...
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192 CE

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The Roman emperor Commodus wanted to kill a rhinoceros with a bow and arrow, and he wanted to do it in the Colosseum.
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415 CE

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A gold coin depicting Kumaragupta I hunting an Indian Rhino.
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476 CE

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A 19th century illustration depicting the Germanic warrior Odoacer accepting the resignation of Romulus Augustulus, the last of the western emperors.
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1075–1220

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The Kingdom of Mapungubwe was a pre-colonial state in the far northwest of South Africa. At its height it had about 5,000 citizens, with established gold trading links with East Africa.
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1300

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The Medieval Warm Period (which had seen the Viking conquests, the development of Trans-Saharan trade, the Crusades and the rise of the Ottoman and Mongol empires) had drawn to a close.
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Circa 1500

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At the end of the 15th century the planet was slightly more than halfway towards its first billion human inhabitants.
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1513

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An Indian ruler sent a gift of an Indian Rhino to King Manuel of Portugal, probably the first to be seen in Europe since the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.
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1553

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Rhino horn is often cited today as being gram for gram more valuable than gold.
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1600

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Around this time the Indian Rhino was still common in northwestern India and Pakistan, but its numbers began to decline rapidly, and soon it was extinct in the western reaches of its range.
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1631

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The Parisian physician Guy Patin (depicted in this etching) was an early sceptic regarding the properties of (rhino) horn.
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1758

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The Black Rhino is named Rhinoceros bicornis by the Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus.
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1787

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The first western studies of the Javan Rhino took place.
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Circa 1800

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A billion humans inhabited the world at this time with Asia being the home to 65 per cent of them.
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1812

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British explorer and naturalist William John Burchell "discovered" the White Rhino north of Kuruman in South Africa...
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1817

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Burchell revealed the Southern White Rhino to science in a letter to a French journal.
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1822

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A Javan Rhino was shot and the specimen sent to French scientist Georges Cuvier who recognized it as a distinct species...
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1846

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An artist, J A Wagner, rendered this hand colored etching of Southern White Rhino which was derived from an 1838 drawing by William Cornwallis Harris.
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1847

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The French hunter, naturalist, collector and author, Adulphe Delegorgue, saw black and white rhinos near the Umfolozi River...
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1850s

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The Southern Black Rhino Diceros bicornis bicornis was driven into extinction in South Africa by hunting and the loss of habitat to farming.
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1861

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An Illustration depicting a Javan Rhino hunt ...
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1868

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The South Africa-born hunter and explorer, James Chapman, travelled widely through southern Africa and published his adventures in his long-titled Travels In The Interior Of South Africa
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1870–1890

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The Maharajah of Cooch Behar hunted with the great and famous of Europe.
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1893

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What were thought to be the last pair of Southern White Rhinos in northern Rhodesia were shot to secure their remains for museums in England.
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1895

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An illustration by Émile-Antoine Bayard depicting Indian Rhinos fighting in the Indian State of Baroda.
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1895

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Charles te Mechelen, Dutch teacher, civil servant and hunter of note, with his trophy, a Javan Rhino shot in Ujung Kulon on the western tip of Java. Photograph: Wikimedia Commons
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1900

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The world population had risen to some 1.7 billion mark in. The United States population passed the 75 million mark
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1903

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This specimen, a Sumatran Rhino named “Jackson” was photographed in the London Zoo somewhere between 1903 and 1905.
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1905

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A mere 75 Indian Rhinos survived at the turn of the century.
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1909

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This photograph, published in Field and Stream, shows Captain Fritz Joubert Duquesne with his White Rhino trophy
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1911

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Some 160 years after Linnaeus first named the Black Rhino Rhinoceros bicornis, the name was finally fixed and South Africa, or rather the Cape of Good Hope, was officially declared as the type locality of the species.
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1912

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In South Africa the Southern White Rhino was declared Royal Game, meaning it could only be captured or killed under permit from the Natal Provincial Administrator.
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1920

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In South Africa the Southern White Rhino was declared Royal Game, meaning it could only be captured or killed under permit from the Natal Provincial Administrator.
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1927

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A depiction of the Northern Sumatran Rhino by the German artist Friedrich Wilhelm Kuhnert
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1930

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Several rhino counts were undertaken in the late 1920s in the Zululand region of Natal in the then Union of South Africa – by then the White Rhino had been exterminated everywhere but for this area.
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1938

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Garamba National Park (left) was established in what is now The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), primarily to conserve the 100 or so Northern White Rhinos living there.
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1945

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WW II was a tragic time of hardship for the people of southeast Asia, and for the wildlife of the region.
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1946

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The immediate years after World War II witnessed the rapid dismantling of the British Empire.
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1947

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During August 1947 India and Pakistan gained independence from Britain, but it came at a terrible price.
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1948

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The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources comes into being ...
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1957

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In the 1950s the Nepal Government Railway system played a major role in opening the kingdom to the world ...
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1960

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Some 2,360 Northern White Rhinos were estimated to survive across five countries.
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1961

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“Operation Rhino” one of the greatest conservation successes of all time began.
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1963

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Patrice Lumumba, the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) first, short-lived prime minister.
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1970

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Despite the critical situation in southern Africa there were still thought to be some 65,000 Black Rhinos in the continent as a whole.
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1972

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The Wildlife Board was formed in India and the enactment of the Wildlife Act laid the foundation of present day wildlife conservation practices.
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1973

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Dr Kenneth Kaunda (left), President of Zambia with Dr Kamuzu Banda of Malawi.
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1975

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CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) came into effect to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants did not threaten their survival
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1977

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The Southern White Rhino was listed on CITES Appendix I and the Black Rhino was uplisted to CITES Appendix 1, reflecting its continued decline.
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1980

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The continent-wide Black Rhino population had fallen to some 15,000. It had declined by about 75 per cent in a decade ...
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1983

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Only 15 Northern White Rhinos remained in Garamba.
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1985

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After an absence of some 135 years, the more arid-adapted Southern Black Rhino Diceros bicornis bicornis. was reintroduced into South Africa from its remaining stronghold in Namibia.
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1987

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The controversial Buys Report was published in South Africa. It revealed that the selling price of rhinos was 6.5 times lower that the price obtained by trophy hunters.
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1989

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There were about 100 Indian Rhinos in India’s Manas National Park, but during the ensuing Bodo people’s uprising which lasted until 2003, all were killed.
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1992

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Black Rhino numbers reached an all-time low in 1992 - fewer than 2,500 remained in all of Africa.
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1995

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South Africa now had 8,440 Southern White Rhinos in 247 wild populations, with an additional 650 in captivity.
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1999

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The remaining representatives of the Western Black Rhino Diceros bbicornis longipes were thought to survive only in Cameroon.
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2000

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By the turn of the century world population had reached six billion – Africa, poverty stricken and politically fragile as ever was nudging towards a billion people ...
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2003

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South Africa issued CITES permits for nine rhino trophies and two rhino horns to be exported to Vietnam.
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2005

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Yemen remained the reputed main market for rhino horn, most of it coming from the Northern White Rhino.
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2005 - 2007

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Vietnamese nationals reportedly conducted 203 Southern White Rhino hunts in South Africa.
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2007

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Rhinos were sighted for the last time in Garamba and the Northern White Rhino became regarded as extinct in the wild.
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2008

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At least 123 rhinos were poached in Zimbabwe, threefold more than in the previous year and the highest number since 1987.
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2009

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The remaining four potential breeding Northern White Rhinos from Dvur Králové Zoo in the Chech Republic were moved to high-security enclosures in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy ...
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2010

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A case is put forward for the Northern White Rhino to be regarded as a separate species ...
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2011

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The lobby for a legal trade in rhino horn had by now gained ground in southern African rhino Range States.
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2013

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In November, a 44-year-old Thai, Chumlong Lemthongthai (seen here), was found guilty of arranging for approximately 20 Thai women to pose as rhino trophy hunters.
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2014

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November marked the death of doyen conservationist Dr Ian Player (seen here).
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2015

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Under the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 program six rhinos were moved from Kaziranga to the Laokhowa-Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary ...
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2016

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An Indian Rhino found a new home in Nepal’s Bardia National Park through a successful translocation program.
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2017

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As the year started, there were some 330 private game reserves in South Africa covering an area of more than two million hectares.
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2018 (January–July)

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The Northern White Rhino became functionally extinct. In the early months of the year, only three individuals remained in Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Reserve ...
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2018 (August–December)

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In August, 11 Eastern Black Rhinos were transported to a new sanctuary in Tsavo East. Tragically, all of them were soon dead ...
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2019 (January–June)

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In February, Scientists announced success in creating hybrid embryos using frozen Northern White Rhino sperm and eggs from a Southern White Rhino ...
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