The world’s last male northern white rhino Sudan has died. For almost ten years Sudan was living at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in a 700-acre enclosure, near Mount Kenya. He belonged to a subspecies who are on the verge of extinction and was kept in protection 24×7 by armed guards. A representative at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy told the media that Sudan was a gentle giant with an amazing personality, because of his size a lot of people feared him, but there was nothing mean about him. Sudan has passed away, but the efforts of saving this subspecies from extinction still go on
He was 45 years old which is old in rhino years, but he remained unhealthy, he could not stand and was suffering from many infections. The problems he had were normally associated with his age, he was given proper treatment, but his medical issues could not be resolved. In his final years, he could not even naturally mate with a female because of a low sperm count. On Monday, March 19th, 2018, he was euthanized by a veterinary team in Kenya that has been fighting for years to save him and his dwindling species.
Sudan was born in the year 1972, in a place which is now known as South Sudan. When he was born, there were 1,000 other northern white rhinos roaming wild, but this species was then, and still is a victim of the human conflict. According to the statement written in 2015 by Washington Post’s Kevin Sieff in a profile of Sudan, “They were concentrated in countries plagued by war: Sudan, Congo, the Central African Republic. When fighting broke out, the rhinos were also victims, killed for their meat or their horns, or sometimes exchanged for money or arms.”
After Sudan’s death, we can only hope that the world learns a lesson and take every possible action to end the trade of rhino horns. Sources tell that the prices of rhino horns are now falling in China and Vietnam, but poaching for the horn is still a threat to the rhino species. The reason why poachers target the rhinos comes from a belief, in some parts Asia, according to which these horns are capable of curing many different minor diseases.
The experts say that the rhino horns have become a great deal of profit as compared to drugs. This threat increased the need of preserving the northern white rhino, because if this continues, then there will be no known animals left in the wild. The species of western black rhino went extinct about seven years ago due to poaching. According to a group called Save the Rhino, all the five remaining rhino species are under threat.
Sudan has left behind a 28-year-old daughter Najin, and a 17-year-old granddaughter Fatu. It has been informed that Najin can conceive, but her hind legs are very weak which have caused a problem in supporting a mounted male. In the past years, researchers have tried to mate Najin with different mates, but the result was always a fail as no conceptions happened.
According to the latest health examination the female white rhinos have a regular estrus cycle. Luckily the researchers have saved some of Sudan’s genetic material, in hopes of artificially inseminating it in one of the two females left. The procedures are already happening and we all hope that a conception is recorded soon. Otherwise, this beloved species will go extinct, like many others.