Sad! 45-Year-Old Sudan, Last Male Northern White Rhino, Dies in Kenya

Date March 22, 2018

A rare breed of rhinoceros is close to extinction as the last male northern white rhino in the world died a few days ago in Kenya. The rhino, Sudan, was 45-years-old. He had been sick for a while.

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Sudan's death

Sudan lived at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, and before that had lived at the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic until 2009. He lived with his 27-year-old daughter Najin and 17-year-old granddaughter Fatu until his death.

The rhino's death was aided by the recommendations of medical experts after age-related complications affected his muscles and bones and also gave him extensive skin wounds. He was in severe pain and beyond medical redemption.

Before his death, all attempts to get him to mate naturally had failed, so officials at Ol Pejeta collected some of the genetic material just before he was euthanized. It is hoped that more northern white rhinos can be reproduced by In Vitro Fertilization.

An endangered species

Sudan was born in South Sudan. When he was just 2, he was captured with five other northern white rhinoceroses in 1975 by animal trappers employed by Chipperfield's Circus.

Head of wildlife conservation at Ol Pejeta, Samuel Mutisya, told Reuters that Sudan's death was an indication of the extent of human greed and the impacts human beings can have on nature.

He said:

If we don’t take care of what we have, we will definitely continue to lose it, particularly lose other species that are currently endangered.

The In Vitro Fertilization procedure is the last hope. If it fails, the subspecies of rhinos will almost certainly go extinct.

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Northern white rhinoceros have always been in constant danger of poaching. The Ol Pejeta conservancy does what it can to protect them with a 24-hour security system that includes horn-embedded transmitters, drones, guard dogs, and trained armed guards.

One hippo's remarkable story

As sad as Sudan's death is, it isn't all bad news for endangered wild animals though. Remember Fiona the hippoThe adorable hippo was the first Nile hippo to be born at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in 75 years. 

Although Fiona was born 6 weeks early and weighed far less than the expected average of 55–120 pounds at birth, she survived the odds stacked against her.

From her very frail condition at birth, she learned to stand, swim, and walk, while the world admired her will to live and cheered her on.

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Her inspiring story became a cultural phenomenon and a campaign was even started to get her a feature as a Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. Awww!

We do hope the IVF procedure works out well. It would be a shame to lose yet another animal species.

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