Sudan, The Last Living Male White Rhino, Dies
The world’s last living male northern white rhino has died, leaving two female rhinos into saving the subspecies from extinction, CNN reports. Sudan, the 45-year-old male rhino, has already been sick recently. Reports said that the rhino has already been being treated for age-related issues and multiple infections for a time.
According to conservation group WildAid’s announcement Tuesday, a veterinary team has made the final decision of putting Sudan into eternal sleep after seeing his condition to be deteriorating significantly. BBC reported the white rhino was being treated for the degenerative changes that targeted his muscles and bones, while also suffering from extensive skin wounds. Sudan was unable to stand up and experienced pain in his last 24 hours, and was surrounded by armed guards in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya until his last moments to protect him from poachers.
“He was a gentle giant, his personality was just amazing and given his size, a lot of people were afraid of him. But there was nothing mean about him,” said Elodie Sampere, a representative for Ol Pejeta.
Even though Sudan was euthanized, researchers were able to save some of his genetic material. This will be used in the hopes of reproducing the subspecies through artificially inseminating one of the two females left, Sudan’s daughter and granddaughter.
It is with great sadness that Ol Pejeta Conservancy and the Dvůr Králové Zoo announce that Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino, age 45, died at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya on March 19th, 2018 (yesterday). #SudanForever #TheLoneBachelorGone #Only2Left pic.twitter.com/1ncvmjZTy1
— Ol Pejeta (@OlPejeta) March 20, 2018
“His death is a cruel symbol of human disregard for nature and it saddened everyone who knew him,” said Jan Stejskal, an official at Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, where Sudan lived in 2009.
“But we should not give up,” he added as quoted by AFP news agency.
“We must take advantage of the unique situation in which cellular technologies are utilised for conservation of critically endangered species. It may sound unbelievable, but thanks to the newly developed techniques even Sudan could still have an offspring.”
Image Credit: Ami Vitale / National Geographic Creative via TIME