Only three Northern white rhinos remained on the entire planet, but that number dropped to just two on Tuesday after Sudan, the world’s last remaining male, passed away at 45 years old.
Image Credit: San Diego Zoo Safari Park/Facebook
Veterinary teams stood by Sudan’s side for weeks, treating infections and hoping that his condition would improve. Unfortunately, they didn’t; Sudan’s health only deteriorated.
Citing a statement made by the Ol Pajeta Conservancy in Kenya, Sudan could no longer stand up, and veterinary teams decided to euthanize him to put an early end to his suffering.
“We on Ol Pejeta are all saddened by Sudan’s death. He was a great ambassador for his species and will be remembered for the work he did to raise awareness globally of the plight facing not only rhinos but also the many thousands of other species facing extinction as a result of unsustainable human activity,” said Ol Pejeta CEO Richard Vigne in a public statement.
One day, his demise will hopefully be seen as a seminal moment for conservationists worldwide,” Vigne continued.
The heartbreaking news deals a significant blow to the Northern white rhino species, especially considering the dire circumstances brought about by illegal poaching for the animal’s valuable horn. But while two females are all that remain of the Northern white rhino, conservationists haven’t given up hope for saving the species just yet.
Genetic samples were collected from Sudan just before his passing, which means plans to move forward with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) attempts could still materialize. If successful, then one of the two remaining females would play become a surrogate mother, and another Northern white rhino could result.
Sudan’s passing serves as a constant reminder about the dangers of animal poaching and why it needs to end. If poaching continues, then more animals will be drawn closer to extinction.