World’s last male Northern white rhino “Sudan” is no more.
The last male northern white rhino “Sudan” died on Monday at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya because of a series of infections and other health problems.
Aged 45, Sudan was an elderly rhino and his death was not expected. This comes as huge shock as this species now is on the verge of extinction as there are only two northern white rhinos left- Najin, Sudan’s daughter, and Fatu, his granddaughter, both are at the conservancy.
Northern white rhinos are a subspecies of the more populous southern white rhinos that once roamed the grasslands of east and central Africa. In 1960, there were approximately 2,000.
Because of War, habitat loss and poaching for rhino horn by 2008 researchers could no longer find any northern white rhinos in the wild.
Sudan was captured in 1975 & remained at zoos around the world.
“Sudan is an extreme symbol of human disregard for nature,” said Jan Stejskal, director of international projects at the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, where Sudan spent most of his life. “He survived extinction of his kind in the wild only thanks to living in a zoo.”
While banked northern white rhino sperm is available from several males not related to Najin and Fatu, neither female is able to carry a pregnancy. Conservationists hope to extract Najin and Fatu’s eggs; fertilize the eggs in vitro with banked sperm; and then implant the embryos in surrogate southern white rhino females.
Every rhino species is under threat, said Cathy Dean, chief executive of Save the Rhino, an advocacy group, while the technical advances researchers are discussing may take 15 years to bear fruit.
“It may be too late for the northern white rhinos, but we still have time to save all the other species,” Ms. Dean said.