As of Thursday, November 9, 2011, the Western Black Rhino of Africa was declared extinct by The International Union for Conservation of Nature. Additionally, the IUCN noted that the Northern White Rhino of Central Africa and the Javan Rhino are both considered to be near extinction, if not already there.

The group mentioned that species such as the Southern White Rhino and the Przewalski's Horse have seen success through conservation programs and the situation for the Black Rhino’s might have been different had similar programs have been put into place sooner. Some of the effects that conservation programs have had in the past is to manage and protect habitats, which create more successful breeding environments and have helped prevent other rhino species from becoming extinct previously.

Alongside the Black Rhino, the Eastern Cougar was also declared extinct in 2011 along with several others. Beyond this, there are hundreds of different animal species on endangered lists around the world and through various environmental organizations.

In order to prevent more of this world’s amazing animals from going extinct, they need your help.

1. Join a conservation organization

Organizations like the World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) need our help and support to continue conservation and protection efforts. These conservation organizations are busy building and maintaining habitats, changing legislation and educating the public, but they need your support to do so.

2. Protect wildlife habitat

This is another way that you can help to protect this world’s nature. Not only does it help conservation organizations when individuals pitch in, but it is something that you can take part in locally. Deforestation, farming, over-grazing and development all result in irreversible changes to the environment and to the natural habitats of many different species. By being aware of what species live in your area and the different kinds of activities that happen around you, you can educate your communities and work to get different areas protected.

3. Recycle and reduce energy consumption

This is one of the major ways to protect the environment. There are many different ways in which you can reduce your energy consumption, such as by switching to energy efficient light bulbs, turning off lights when not in use, unpluging appliances when not in use, etc. Additionally, ensure that you are recycling plastic and other materials to their proper containers so that less waste ends up in landfills and causing harm to the environment.

4. Go green

This is a pretty broad topic as there are many ways to ‘go green’, but in terms of wildlife, the best way to define it is to look for products that have a reduced impact on the world and local ecosystems. Reduce the use of pesticides, properly dispose of chemicals and try and find products made from recycled materials are all easy ways to go green.

5. Use your voice and get involved

Perhaps the most effective and least used tool to protect animals like the Black Rhino from extinction is your voice and getting involved in the community. Education is key to prevent more animals from ending up on the endangered or worse, extinct list. You can voice your thoughts and concerns in many ways such as through local council meetings, the newspaper, online websites or at schools and other community events where you can take the opportunity to educate the public. Don’t be afraid to collect donations, petition signatures or anything else you can think of to help great change.

The only way we are going to be able to protect this planet and our wildlife for future generations to enjoy is if we start to cherish it today. When we have the ability to implement programs to protect these animals, we should also have the motivation to. Take part in the fight for the environment and those who need it.