Sudan, the world's last male northern white rhino, dies at age 45

Pauline Gross
March 21, 2018

The last hours of his life were spent in huge pain due to an infection in his right leg and the degeneration of his muscles and bones.

The death of the last remaining male northern white rhino to roam planet earth, which was announced on Tuesday by its care taker, Ol Pejeta Conservancy in northern Kenya, had shocked global wildlife campaigners while triggering a new debate on effective ways to protect endangered species from extinction. The rhino suffered a series of infections and age-related health issues.

The veterinary team made a decision to euthanize Sudan after his condition worsened over the weekend, which left him with bad skin wound.

The 45-year-old rhino was euthanized Monday after his conditions "worsened significantly" and he was unable to stand any longer, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya said in a statement.

Fatu and Najin are now the last rhinos of this kind in the world and the fate of the species lies in their ability to become pregnant through IVF.

"One day, his demise will hopefully be seen as a seminal moment for conservationists worldwide", Vigne added.

It is because of rhinos' massive size that they don't have many predators, however, the rhino horn is one of the most demanded product which is used both in dagger handles in Yemen and Chinese medicine which shot up poaching incidents in the 1970s and 1980s which greatly adversely influenced northern white rhinos in Central African Republic, Chad, Sudan, and Uganda.

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"In this way, normal generation can't happen, manual sperm injection isn't conceivable, so the main other choice that we need to have an unadulterated northern white rhino infant is to recover or to accomplish something we call ovum get, gather eggs from the females", Ngulu said. The animals are poached for its horns, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars because some believe it has medicinal value.

Poaching has been a major contributor to the northern white rhino's decline over the past century.

He did manage to sire two females while at the Czech zoo. The zoo fell into financial troubles and rhinos there failed to breed. Although heartbreaking to let the last male of a species pass on, after discovering that he was no longer able to stand his handlers made the hard decision on Monday to euthanize the white rhino.

Despite the productive conditions, there were no successful pregnancies. He will be remembered through is important contribution to survival of his species as two females, Najin and Fatu.

Butfield said the growing recognition that we are living through an extinction crisis did offer some hope. "It may sound unbelievable, but thanks to the newly developed techniques even Sudan could still have another offspring".

Other rhinos, the southern white rhino and another species, the black rhino, are under heavy pressure from poachers who kill them for their horns to supply illegal markets in parts of Asia.

Other reports by GizPress

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