The feared extinction of the northern white rhino has been heightened after the death of the world’s last remaining male northern white rhino named Sudan.
He died on Monday at the age of 45 after months of age-related illness at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya where he leaves behind the only two females of his species in the world – his daughter Najin and granddaughter Fatu.
Unfortunately, Sudan’s death leaves just two female northern white rhinos on the planet; his daughter Najin and her daughter Fatu, who remain at Ol Pejeta.
— Ol Pejeta (@OlPejeta) March 20, 2018
“Sudan was being treated for age-related complications that led to degenerative changes in muscles and bones combined with extensive skin wounds. His condition worsened significantly in the last 24 hours; he was unable to stand up and was suffering a great deal,” the conservation camp tweeted.
Sudan, who was 90 in human years, was rescued in the 1970s after escaping extinction and was kept at the Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic where he fathered the two remaining females.
He was moved to Kenya in 2009 with the other male northern white rhino at the time and the two females to encourage breeding. It was unsuccessful.
Ol Pejeta said Sudan’s genetic material was collected before his death and it “provides a hope for future attempts at reproduction of northern white rhinos through advanced cellular technologies.”
Scientists are working on developing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques using eggs from the two remaining females or surrogate southern white rhino females and Sudan’s semen to preserve the subspecies.
There are two sub-species of the white rhinoceros including the rare northern white rhinos and the southern white rhino with an estimated 20,000 living in the wild.
Sudan gained worldwide popularity last year when an account was created for him on the dating app Tinder to help fund the development of IVF for rhinos.
Hundreds of fans payed tribute to Sudan.
#Sudan, the world’s last male northern white #rhino, is dead and only two females of the species remain. It will not be a very pleasant thing to say, I was there when a species became extinct.#RhinosUnderThreat pic.twitter.com/IetDccKqh6
— Anupam Bordoloi (@asomputra) March 20, 2018
Sudan, the LAST male Northern White Rhino is dead.
To all the bastards out there who demand rhino horn ? YOU HAVE caused this ?
— Louisa Pearson (@louisa1000) March 20, 2018
The world’s last male white rhino (sudan) who was at the Ol Pejeta conservancy in my backyard of Laikipia is dead. Two female white rhinos exist, but now the species is under greater threat of extinction. Maybe science will step in to save the species. #RIPSudanRhino #RIPSudan pic.twitter.com/Tux5agpPQE
— Mutahi Muriithi (@MutahiMuriithi) March 20, 2018
Last of an Extinct Breed! pic.twitter.com/aSJY23ttGC
— Hezbon Mureithi® (@HezMureithi) March 20, 2018
So Sudan is dead with no solution on how to continue his legacy ….?
— Songok Abbigael (@SongokAbbigael) March 20, 2018
@Olpajeta It Is With Great Sorrow That #Sudan Is Dead All Blame Goes To Heartless Humans.
— Jonathan Mwaniki (@DktJonathan) March 20, 2018
Sudan last male of the Northern White Rhino is dead! Its sad… Extinction is real! Could we have failed this precious animal? #Sudan
— Jōnï (@itsj_nkinga) March 20, 2018