This rhino’s markings were so distinct, there was no mistaking it. I couldn’t believe my eyes. All I was thinking was, it’s a striped rhino!
It has been reported that the Striped Rhino (long thought extinct) has been spotted and photographed in the wild for the first time in nearly two decades! Several photos have surfaced on wildlife message boards showing the near-mythical animal grazing side-by-side with its distant cousin, the White Rhino. Experts have speculated for some time that the two would share the same geographic range, but the pair have never before been captured co-habitating wild land.
Because the genetic variation between the Striped Rhino and the White Rhino is so negligible, scientists fear that inter-breeding between the species could cause the final demise of the distinctly different Striped Rhino variation before the end of the decade. When genetic diversity, and ample population allows, the two species are able to coexist and the distinct coloration of the Striped Rhino is not at a threat of disappearing. However, with populations of the two species thought to be in the low hundreds worldwide, the scientific community is beginning to fear that the genetics of both rhinos will become diluted into the gene pool. This could spell the end as we know it for the magnificent Striped Rhino.
Says one scientist, “Now that we know that the Striped Rhino is not extinct, we have to act fast. If the two species are allowed to share the same feeding, and breeding ground it is likely that the two species of rhino will merge and the distinct striped pattern will disappear forever”
Legislation has been proposed to capture and relocate all White Rhinos to a region farther south.