Once found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, black rhinos used to be a common feature of the savannah. However, poaching and the illegal wildlife trade now threaten the species’ survival. Between 1970 and 1992, poaching caused 96 percent of black rhinos to disappear, leaving just 2,475 wild black rhinos in 1993. Since then, conservation and anti-poaching efforts have doubled the size of the black rhino population, but the species remains critically endangered. One of four subspecies, the West African black rhino, was declared extinct in 2011. Rhinos are one of several species threatened by the illegal wildlife trade, alongside elephants, tigers and slow loris. This trade, like other illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife parts, is controlled by dangerous international criminal networks, and has been linked to terrorism and the trafficking of drugs, arms and people.
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