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Rare African Rhinoceros in Danger of Extinction - 2003-10-06

A British newspaper reports that a rare species of rhinoceros has been hunted almost to extinction by rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that 22 Northern White rhinos are left in their only wild refuge - the Garamba National Park in the northeast corner of the country.

The newspaper report says rebels from Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda and Congo kill the rare rhinos for their horns. It says they use the money to buy arms to fight the government and rival factions.

The Telegraph says conservationists fear the rhinos will be extinct within months unless urgent action is taken.

Park rangers says they have not been able to protect the animals from the heavily armed rebels.

The Northern White is a sub species of white rhinoceros once found across central Africa. Just over fifty years ago, there were an estimated 6,000 northern whites.