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Officials astounded after birth of critically endangered rhino once on the brink of extinction: 'The program to protect them has really grown'

"There's always going to be a risk of poaching."

"There's always going to be a risk of poaching."

Photo Credit: Big Life Foundation

Wildlife researchers in Kenya have discovered a baby rhino in the wild — an event that would surely be exciting for almost anyone — but is especially important considering how endangered the eastern black rhino is, ABC News reported.

The 6-month-old rhino calf was discovered in the Chyulu Hills and is being hailed as a big win for conservationists and the species. There are only around eight eastern black rhinos that are known in that region, and fewer than 1,000 are still in the wild. The total number of rhinos of all types in the wild is around 27,000

As well as the threats of habitat loss and pollution that have plagued so many species across the globe, rhinos have been especially harmed by poachers who kill them for their valuable keratin horns.

Conservationists in the region have led antipoaching efforts, including increased monitoring that has allowed at least some rhinos to survive. However, the threat of poaching is nearly impossible to eliminate completely.

"There's always going to be a risk of poaching, just given how valuable rhino [horn] is on a black market," Amy Baird, deputy director of Big Life Foundation USA, a conservation nonprofit, told ABC News. But "the program to protect them has really grown," she added.

Although rhinos and many other species have suffered greatly from human-caused problems, recent news has shown that humans also have the power to greatly help these animals rebound. Conservationists in Portugal recently reintroduced bison to the area for the first time in thousands of years. The bison are expected to help prevent spreading wildfires by grazing flammable vegetation.

Similarly, conservationists also recently reintroduced wolves in Colorado, butterflies in Wales, and more. While these species and locations are all pretty disparate, the goals are the same: They help restore the natural balance of these ecosystems and undo some of the damage that human activity has done over the years.

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