The last male of rarest northern white rhinogenre has passed away. After suffering various complications for several months, the rhino died last Monday.The 45 year’s old rhinoceros named ‘Sudan’ was living his last decade of life in Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy. After sudden deterioration of his health condition, Sudan was put to sleep on Monday.
After Sudan’s death, the number of rare northern white rhino decreased to 2. The remaining two are female, named Najin (27) and fatu (17), while Sudan was the last male of the species. Najin and Fatu themselves are however descendants of Sudan.
Jan Stejskal, who is an official of Czech Republic’s Dvur Kralove Zoo, where Sudan lived until 2009 before brought to Kenya, expressed his grief saying, “His death is a cruel symbol of human disregard for nature and it saddened everyone who knew him.” He added to news agency AFP, “But we should not give up. 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.”
How these rhinos became so rare?
Rhinoceroses are the second largest land mammals on earth after elephants. There are five different species of this giant creatures. White rhino is one of them, which is again divided into two sub-species, southern white rhino and northern white rhino. Though southern white rhinos are still not in threat of extinction, but their northern companions are in deep danger, remaining only 3 of them on earth till Monday. After Sudan’s death, which has now numbered to 2 only.
After the previous male northern white rhinoceros died in 2014, Sudan became the lone male member of it’s category. During 70’s and 80’s, mass exterminations of these animals specially in Uganda, Central African Republic, Sudan and Chad made there existence in threat. Demand of rhino horns, which were needed to made Yemenis dagger handle and Chinese traditional medicines was the reason behind the illegal hunting of these animals.
After dozens of northern white rhinos were eliminated within the first few years of last decade in Democratic Republic of Congo, this sub-species was included in the possible extinct list of wildlife.
How Sudan died?
For the last couple of months, Sudan was suffering several health problems. Along with losing functionality of muscles and bones, he had skin wounds too. He even couldn’t stand by his own at the last days. 24 hours before he died, Sudan was kept in close observation of the veterinarians in the conservancy.
International reaction upon Sudan’s death
The news of Sudan’s death quickly spread around the world. From Kenyan politicians to international sportspersons, scientists, YouTubers, social workers poured their grief on social medias. Some posted their photos with Sudan taken in previous years. Former WWE wrestler Daniel Bryan mourned with the hashtag #wedidthis. Several environmentalists demanded to the authorities and governments to take necessary steps to save endangered wildlife before it is too late.
Is there any possibilities to save them from extinction?
In 2009, the then remaining four northern white rhinos were shifted to Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy from Czech Republic’s Dvur Kralove Zoo. Two males including Sudan and two female. It was thought that in the very own atmosphere of Africa, the rhinos would be able to breed. However despite a long waiting, the result was disappointing. Moreover four years ago, Sudan was declared as unable to become a mate anymore.
Last year, an account was opened for Sudan in popular dating app ‘Tinder’. Not to find his match, but to raise fund for IVF of rhinos. This initiative made Sudan renown worldwide.
Meanwhile, necessary genetic materials had been collected from Sudan’s body after his death. The purpose is to use those in future researches. Their plain is to combine Sudan’s sperm and remaining female’ ovum to produce new member of the northern white rhino club.
The IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) research is a very costly one, closely $10 million. Still the scientists are hoping that Najin and Fatu, the last remaining female northern white rhinos will be able to conceive some day.