Working on these as I can, it’ll be a bit before I get all caught up and may not be by the end of October, but I WILL finish this series. // Day 12: Black Rhinoceros // Status: Critically Endangered // An animal whose history of being hunted dates back hundreds of years, use of rhino horns and skin is documented from Africa to Asia. The longest recorded black rhino horn was almost five feet in length, and some individuals have been observed with a third horn in addition to the usual two. Until the 1900s, black rhinos were one of the most numerous rhino species in Africa. Hunting became more uncontrolled as globalization occurred, and all rhino species populations began to decline rapidly. Habitat loss and over running of territory during human conflict further decimated the animals numbers. By 2000, less than 2000 black rhinos existed in the wild. Today, many species of rhinoceros are protected on reserves or in zoos. However, the black rhino has had a particularly difficult time in captivity as their diet is very specialized and diseases kill many individuals. Many subspecies of rhinoceros have already become extinct, most recently the northern white rhinoceros was declared functionally extinct, as the only two living individuals are females in captivity. While education has gone a long way toward conserving the animals, black market prices for rhino parts to be used in traditional medicines remain high. Conservation efforts have also been controversial. A 2014 auction for a permit to hunt a black rhinoceros in Namibia sold for $350,000. The auction drew criticism as well as death threats to the man who purchased the permit. The permit was issued for 1 of 18 black rhinos specifically identified by Namibia's Ministry of Environment and Tourism as being past breeding age and considered a threat to other rhinos. The money was reportedly used by the Namibian government to fund anti-poaching efforts in the country. Trophy hunting for conservation efforts has long been criticized, and its true effectiveness under debate.