On the heels of the tragic killing of Cecil the Lion, the beloved Zimbabwean lion whose life was needlessly and recklessly taken by an American hunter, there has been another devastating blow to the animal world just this past week. A Northern white rhinoceros, which is a critically endangered species, lost one of only five remaining members of the species at a Czech Republic Zoo.
A large, untreatable cyst took the life of Nabire, a 31-year-old Northern white rhino, and her death puts the species at great risk of absolute extinction. Like the majority of the animal species on the endangered list, it is human greed and selfishness that has caused the Northern white rhino's near-decimation. Just as Cecil the Lion was senselessly killed for human enjoyment and "sport," this particular subspecies has also been hunted in the name of man's avarice, poached for its horn which some cultures believe to contain medicinal properties.
Making the Northern white rhino's survival even more perilous is the fact that one of the remaining members of the species is a 42-year-old male who can no longer reproduce, according to National Geographic. The other remaining three are captive females, one of whom lives at the San Diego Zoo, and two of whom reside at a conservancy in Kenya (along with the one remaining male). But CNN has reported that there is one small glimmer of hope for the subspecies.
Nabire's ovaries and various other organs have been shipped to a laboratory in Italy with the intention that someday, perhaps new members of the species can be conceived via in vitro fertilization. Nonetheless, the message is painfully clear with these two devastating, recent losses to the animal kingdom (that of Cecil the Lion and Nabire the Northern white rhino): it's human recklessness, selfishness, and greed that are claiming the lives of these precious beings. And if we as humans don't take responsibility for our actions as residents of a planet that we share with other species of living beings, we may find ourselves in a situation where it's too late and various forms of precious life are gone forever.