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Last Updated: Saturday November 24 2007 12:20 GMT

Black rhinos killed in Zimbabwe

A black rhino at an Animal Park in Kent in the UK
A black rhino at a UK Animal Park

Some of the most endangered animals in the world - black rhinos - have been shot and killed in Zimbabwe in Africa.

Three adult females were killed at the Imire Safari park, which is a place where people are trying to get rhinos to breed to help the species continue.

There were only three adult females at the park, so now there are no animals there that can have babies.

There are only 3,000 black rhinos left in the world, and animal experts are really worried for their survival.

Black rhinos as a species are called Critically Endangered by the World Conservation Union, which means there is strong chance there won't be any left soon.

A black rhino at an Animal Park in Kent in the UK
Even more worrying for black rhinos is that there have been other attacks like this one in Zimbabwe this year.

Now the park has only four young orphaned rhinos left, and it will be 20 years before those animals are able to have their own babies.

No-one is sure why the rhinos were killed, but it's thought poachers may be to blame. A Zimbabwe government spokesman said police and military are increasing patrols to try and find the gunmen.

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