World's last northern white rhinoceros, Sudan dies

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Flipboard
  • Email
  • WhatsApp
A photograph of Sudan with a warden guards at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia national park, Kenya
A photograph of Sudan with a warden guards at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia national park, Kenya

New Delhi : The world’s last existing male northern white rhinoceros, Sudan, died on 19 March at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy (OPC) in Kenya, possibly the end of the kind of male species. Now, the only surviving members of the species are two females, Najin and Fatu, who are known to be Sudan’s daughter and granddaughter respectively

Officials at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia national park in Kenya reported that the animal was suffering from age-related issues. He was suffering from skin wounds that lead to the degeneration of the bones and muscles. The last 24 hours before his life was very pathetic. He suffered greatly and couldn’t even stand, due to an infection in his right hind leg, which compelled his veterinary team to make the decision to euthanize him.

However, there is a debate going on about the distinct species or a subspecies of the white rhinoceros. This kind of species is called Ceratotherium simum cottoni and is believed to have gone extinct in the wild areas long back, some, 10 years ago, despite the fact that it is still listed as critically endangered (possible extinct in the wild) in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, an entry that was last updated in 2011.

Sudan was used as a poster-boy by Ol Pejeta Conservancy (OPC) during a fund-raising campaign that was performed last year with Tinder, in which the white rhino was received the title of “the most eligible bachelor in the world” and proceeds from which would go toward research on artificial reproductive techniques for the animals. But due to his age and other complications, Sudan was unable to mate with either of the two females. And even though mating had been successful, there were questions about the species’ longevity due to inbreeding, and a narrowing gene pool.

The best part is that genetic material from Sudan was collected before he died, in the hope of medical possibilities in the future would allow using that to create northern white rhinos. These artificial techniques could involve individuals from the closely related species, the southern white rhinoceros

Sources confirmed that Sudan was caught in the jungle at the age of 3 and was kept in the Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic for long time-period. He also possesses the surviving females of the species. All three animals were moved to OPC in 2009 to conduct a breeding program, in the hope that a more natural environment may induce the animals to reproduce. All surviving northern white rhinos were monitored by armed wardens, day and night.

Sudan’s death brought a deep pain for his veterinary team and animal lovers across the world. Reacting on the situation, CEO of the conservancy, Richard Vigne said “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. One day, his demise will hopefully be seen as a seminal moment for conservationists world-wide.”

Though Sudan is no more in this world, yet he will be remembered for his unusually memorable life. He will be remembered through is important contribution to survival of his species as two females, Najin and Fatu.