Vietnam's rare Javan rhinoceros was declared extinct in that area after poachers killed the last remaining animal in the country for its horns, the World Wildlife Fund said.
“Vietnam must see this loss as another warning sign of its looming wave of species extinctions,” Dr. Barney Long, WWF’s Asian species expert, said in a statement. “The single most important action that is needed to save remaining threatened species like tigers and elephants is protection.”
The country had been struggling to keep the population alive amid widespread poaching that the WWF said was the cause of many Asian rhino species being brought to the "brink of extinction."
Poachers have killed 287 rhinos in South Africa this year, including 16 critically endangered black rhinos, the World Wildlife Fund reported Wednesday.
South Africa is home to the majority of the world's rhinos, and the 271 African white rhinos killed there this year represent 1.3% of the entire population of the animals, the conservation group said.
The rhinos are killed for their horns, which are used in traditional medicine in Asia, including a misplaced belief they can cure cancer, according to the group.