This is Nola. She’s a northern white rhino. And her species is about to go extinct.




Shortly after I wrote this, Nola passed away.  So now,  instead of four Northern White Rhinos left on earth… there are three.

Here’s the rest of the original post, though:

Nola lives at the San Diego Safari Park.  By all accounts, she as as sweet and good-natured as any animal can be; she’s like a two ton labrador retriever.  And she is one of only four northern white rhinos left on earth.  That’s right: THERE ARE ONLY FOUR OF THESE RHINOS LEFT ON THE ENTIRE PLANET.

There are none left in the wild.  The other three are in a zoo in Europe.  And they’re all too old to breed, which means there is really nothing we can do to save them.  This beautiful creature is going to die out in your lifetime.

If you’ve been paying attention to this blog, you’ll know this isn’t the first time I’ve called attention to this.  However, it seems worth bringing up again.  I’ve been traveling around the USA over the past few weeks, talking about the serious problem of rhino poaching (as it’s at the heart of my newest book, Big Game).  And the school kids I’ve talked to are very, very upset to learn about Nola and the rest of her species.

They’re also very upset to learn about the fact that other rhino species are being killed off at an unsustainable rate, meaning they might go extinct in our lifetimes as well.

They’re upset to learn that on average, THREE RHINOS ARE KILLED ILLEGALLY EVERY DAY.

And they’re also upset to hear that elephants are in serious trouble as well.  Right now, on average, ONE OF THESE BEAUTIFUL CREATURES IS BEING KILLED ILLEGALLY EVERY 14 MINUTES.  THAT’S 96 ELEPHANTS A DAY.



Tanzania estimates it has lost 60% of its elephant population over the last five years.

If you want to get involved, there are many great organizations working to help stop the slaughter.  Please check out at least one of these to find out what you (and your family, and your friends, and your school) can do:

And check out the Save The World tab at the top of this page to learn about other organizations protecting wildlife and their habitats around the world.

Let’s try to make sure that other species don’t suffer the same fate that Nola will.



42 thoughts on “This is Nola. She’s a northern white rhino. And her species is about to go extinct.

  1. This will sound very gross, inhuman, and well, u get the picture, but just out of curiosity couldn’t they just…. clone it? for the sake of preventing them from going extinct?

  2. Aaron –

    Cloning isn’t easy — and even if it was, there are still other issues, like how you build a population back up practically from scratch. People have been discussing bringing back passenger pigeons (once the most populous bird in the world; wiped out by 1913) via cloning but there are a host of issues with that — and those are just birds, which require far less room than a rhino does.

  3. I think Nola died. I’m not sure, but I heard about a dead rhino named Nola at some zoo in San Diego. It might be a coincidence, though. But probably her.

  4. Dang. That sucks. Just goes to show how evil humans can be, how we are to cruellest species on earth.

  5. I absolutely LOVED your bit about the capybaras. They’re my favorite rodents(yes, I have a favorite rodent). What exactly made you want to study them? Do you think you’ll ever make them the focal point in one of your FunJungle novels?

  6. Ben –
    Yes, Nola passed away last week. I was traveling for the holidays and didn’t get a chance to update the blog yet. So now, sadly, we are down to three north african white rhinos.

  7. Hannah –

    I ended up studying them kind of by happenstance. I had to pick an animal to study for a college class and they had just arrived at the zoo. I thought it would be interesting to study something I couldn’t find any info about (this was pre-internet) and ended up being the first person to note some behaviors in them.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever make them a focal point of a novel, though. I love them, but they’re still a bit obscure.

  8. I will ask my parents to donate money to save these poor animals

    Also why do people kill animals,the poor animals haven’t done anything wrong to people, the are just living there normal animal life CAN’T JUST POEPLE LEAVE THEM ALONE FOR ONCE INSTEAD OF KILLING THEM UNTIL THEY REALIZE THERES NOT ENOUGH LEFT I HATE PEOPLE THAT KILL ANIMALS FOR SOMETHING ON THERE BODY

    ~Animal Saver

  9. Do hope people don’t kill another animal that is about to go extinct(I feel like crying)

  10. Poor Nola. How many rhinos are there that Rhonda is and PS I THINK BIG GAME RULES

  11. Bobbyjo –

    Well, the last three are in zoos. But you’re right: the rarer an animal, the more valuable they become. (Of course, once they’re gone, there’s nothing left to poach, so even the poachers, in a way, ought to have a vested interest in keeping these animals alive.)

  12. I am literally crying now I will do everything I can to save these endangered rhinos.(e.g: PE fundraiser, my allowance, tell my science teacher, I have a youtube channel that I will make a warning on.)

  13. Wow… so sad. I can’t believe humans can be so cruel. But just wondering – why didn’t they mate earlier so more rhinos can be born? I mean, zoologists can do that – right?


  14. Nitya –

    I’m sure they tried to mate them earlier, but these things don’t always work out so well.

  15. I love rhinos! Rhinos are very important in our world. I hope rhinos DO NOT go extinct.
    You are very generous of helping to save the rhinos! 🙂

  16. I feel so bad but may she live a great life in heaven i know how it feels too i am sorry

  17. That is so sad! An entire species- extinct! Because of the poachers you described in your FunJungle series (which I love, by the way), we lose precious animals- and for what? $100,000, perhaps? Well, it’s no excuse for heartless people to destroy the beautiful things of nature to become trillionaires like J.J. McCracken. Like Stu said, donate to the sites listed in the SAVE THE WORLD section of this site! (I myself donate to the first site.) Now, because of those greedy, heartless, under-handed, cunningly vicious, and villainy-loving evil poachers (excuse my rude descriptive adjectives- I just saw this species is pretty much extinct now), another species, the Northern white rhino, is gonzo (meaning gone or extinct). Stu, I appreciate your trying to keep nature safe and admire your compassion/passion and your knowledge of these wonderful creatures. You inspire me with your four series (Spy School series, FunJungle series, Moon Base Alpha series, and Last Musketeer series), and through the FunJungle novels, I have learned much about animals ( for instance, water buffalo are the most dangerous African animal, with hippos in second, how a koala sleeps for its whole life, how elephants are the heaviest land mammal in Africa, how rhinos are most commonly poached for their horns, pigs can’t look up, hippos are fierce fighters, the largest land mammal in the United States is the Northern elephant seal, and more). Thank you for helping with animals and giving us enlightening stories (with great action, humor, and character development). By the way, has any more news on FunJungle #4 come yet?

  18. Winston –

    Sadly, I think the people poaching our animals aren’t trying to become trillionaires. They’re just trying to make a decent living. There might be a few ridiculously rich people funding poaching with thoughtless purchases, though.

    Glad to hear that I have slipped a few good informative tidbits into my work. Not much to update on FunJungle #4 since the post last year, but more will come. Stay tuned.

  19. That’s really sad. I mean, you’d think they want to become trillionaires and be done with it, but if they need it for a living, they’ll keep killing those animals… now I feel even more motivated to donate to those foundations to keep the wild going!

  20. Why would people poach rhinos if they know they will die out? Don’t they know that if all of them die then they won’t have anything left to poach?

  21. jamie –

    Sadly, the fewer rhinos there are, the more expensive the remaining horns get. This isn’t a crime designed to be a long-term profit machine. It’s designed to make money while you can.

  22. i think that people should try cloning the animals that are going extinct. Not a lot of clones, though. Just 2 or 4 to breed and make more rhinos which will make more rhinos and so on. Although this is probably super expensive..

  23. mr. moo –

    Cloning animals is really difficult. Plus, you would still need rhinos to carry the cloned rhinos to birth, and right now, we need all the rhinos that can get pregnant to keep their own subspecies from going extinct.

  24. It’s so sad how people are doing this! 🙁
    If people think that Rhino horns and Elephant tusks can cure cancer then why don’t they just use human fingernails? It’s made with the same materials! Also, people get so greedy that they kill extinct animals for money on the black market. So sad 🙁


  26. RandomLlamma –

    Scientists have not cloned a rhino yet. They have some frozen embryos and might artificially inseminate another rhino species to produce a baby northern white rhino. This has not happened yet.

  27. This is so sad. I think it said somewhere that they are “functionally extinct”. I hope all rhinos do not become extinct. 🙁

  28. This (like Dashiell Ripley said) is very sad. I very much hope scientists can do something. This just shows that you should go to the Save the World page on this website. It has several great organizations you can donate to, and one you only have to click a button and it gets money!

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