On the African savanna, efforts to save the southern white rhino require varied approaches.
Continuing a longtime focus on animal conservation and rescue, science educator Markle turns her attention to the plight of the southern white rhino. This giant mammal, an important “ecosystem engineer,” was brought close to extinction in the mid-20th century by hunting and loss of habitat before being rediscovered, protected, and restored. Now it is threatened again, by poachers harvesting its horns for their rumored therapeutic powers. The author introduces her disturbing story with a suspenseful description of a poacher attack and concludes with the targeted rhino’s rescue and the species’ prospects for the future. In between, she covers protection efforts in South Africa that include: reserves and restrictions against hunting, relocation, market attempts to reduce horn value, helping survivors of horn removal, and the use of patrols and trained dogs. The clear and well-organized exposition weaves in plenty of information about the habits and habitats of this remarkable species and the nature of its coveted horn. Appealing design includes photos from a variety of sources, many showing rhino mothers and their calves and more than a few showing their human African protectors, both white and black. These images are captioned with clear explanations and additional information. Supportive backmatter includes a good list of books and websites about all kinds of rhinos appropriate for the intended readers.
Another compelling, hopeful account of ecosystem defense. (author’s note, timeline, source notes, glossary, find out more, index, photo acknowledgements) (Nonfiction. 9-14)