Just three Northern white rhinos walk the Earth today; two of those are young females, while the third is an elderly male that conservationists hoped would eventually mate with said females and produce offspring. Unfortunately, that plan isn’t going smoothly, and experts may need to use in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to keep the bloodline going.
Experts named the male Sudan, and he’s kept under 24-hour armed guard at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya to deter poachers. Unfortunately, even armed guards can’t prevent health issues that can arise at any time, especially not at Sudan’s age.
Image Credit: Ol Pejeta/Twitter
The Northern white rhino began exhibiting an ailing condition last week, and those caring for Sudan could tell that he wasn’t feeling himself. Not only wasn’t he getting up as often as it would for his regular mud baths, but he was developing bedsores from laying down so much.
Alarmingly, one of those bedsores became infected last week, and veterinarians have been working around the clock to rid Sudan of his infection and stabilize his teetering health.
"We are treating his wounds twice a day to avoid the risk of infection, and they're getting better," Ol Pejeta's Elodie Sampere told the BBC in a statement. "The sores are being made worse because he lies down too much."
Despite causing the hearts of Sudan’s caretakers to skip a beat, the recent circumstances seem to be improving this week. Following some heavy rains in the region, Sudan was able to enjoy a mud bath. Consequently, his caretakers say he’s exhibiting “lifted spirits.”
At 45 years of age, Sudan is much older than most Northern white rhinos ever live to be, and he doesn’t have much time left on this Earth. Experts have accepted this, but they continue to care for him to make his life both safe and comfortable.