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The demise of the last male Northern White Rhino

The demise of the last male Northern White Rhino

Forty-five-year-old Sudan, the last male northern white Rhino in the world, passed away in captivity on March 19th, 2018. Sudan was put down by a veterinary team in Kenya after illness and infection crippled him. The team had worked tirelessly for the past two years in an effort to save the species.

There are only two Northern White Rhino’s alive today, Sudan’s daughter Najin and his granddaughter Fatu. In a last ditch effort to save the species scientists plan to use an assistive reproductive method in order to produce offspring; however, the chances of this method succeeding are very slim. Sadly, Sudan’s age and health had prevented him from producing offspring. The extinction of the species has now become a grim inevitability.

An emotional memorial service was held for Sudan on 31st march. A plaque honoring the last male northern white rhino was revealed and carrot, sudan’s favorite food, placed on top of it.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Najib Balala unveils the headstone of Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, at the Rhino Cemetery at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia National Park, Kenya March 31, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya3

Sudan lived his life at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya where he fathered two female Rhinos. He participated in many awareness campaigns for Rhinos around the world, and even had his own tinder profile; created by scientists in order to raise awareness and help the species. Sudan had become somewhat of a celebrity in recent years with thousands of people flocking to see him at the conservancy in Kenya. His death also sparked a response from celebrities such as WWE wrestler Daniel Bryan, who used the hashtag #wedidthis to describe the tragedy.

There are only 30,000 Rhinos left in the wild; with numbers decreasing rapidly each year due to poaching and habitat loss. Rhinos are hunted for their horns, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine and are thought to hold magical healing properties. A recent decrease in the price of Rhino horn from 65,000 dollars to 29,000 dollars per kilogram coupled with strong conservation efforts has deterred some poachers, however in the case of the Northern White Rhino it is far too late. Scientists are not fully focused on saving the remaining Rhinos before the second largest land mammal in the world goes extinct in front of our very eyes. Sudan’s death is an eye opener for the world; if we do not take heed of our actions there will be nothing but a barren wasteland, void of life, in store for the coming generations.

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