Sadly, The Last Male Northern White Rhino On The Planet Has Passed Away

The world has lost one of it’s great souls. Yes we lost Stephen Hawking but that’s not who I’m talking about. Sudan, the last male northern white rhino has died at a conservatory in Kenya.

He was named after the country he was born in, and he first lived at the Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic. He lived there for most of his life but in 2009 he was moved to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. There he lived with two lady rhinos, Fatu and Najin.

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Image Via stevepennells Instagram

They hoped that living with the two female rhinos would help them mate, and save the species from going extinct. Sadly that never happened.

At the Conservancy, he was guarded by armed guards 24/7 to make sure no poachers would get to him. They even removed his horn to make them not want to poach him even more.

Since he was never able to procreate, they worked on a different plan. They wrote on their blog:

“Preparations have kicked off in Kenya and Europe for the long-anticipated procedure that is hoped to help to save the northern white rhinos from the brink of extinction. With only three aging northern white rhino individuals left, this subspecies faces extinction if new representative offspring are not produced.”

Image Via mvndeep Instagram

Experts have been working the past two years to prepare for this type of event. They look to use a southern white rhino surrogate to carry a northern white rhino embryo. Sperm from the deceased male rhinos have been stored in Berlin, Germany.

As for Najin and Fatu, their eggs have been taken to be later fertilized in the lab.

Image Via Frank AF Petersens

“The fate of the northern white rhino subspecies depends on this operation going smoothly.”

All rhino species are a target for extinction sadly, due to poachers that have no souls. People in Asia believe (even though this is not backed up by science) that the substance, keratin, which is in their horns has powerful healing elements.

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They think it can cure things from hangovers to cancer. Fun fact…keratin is found in all of our finger nails, but you don’t see people poaching people (at least for that reason).

Millions used to habit Asia and Africa and now researchers think only 30k of all rhinos among all species remain.

Image Via Ian Aitken

Jan Stejskal, an official at Dvur Kralove Zoo said this:

“His death is a cruel symbol of human disregard for nature and it saddened everyone who knew him. But we should not give up.

We must take advantage of the unique situation in which cellular technologies are utilized for conservation of critically endangered species. It may sound unbelievable, but thanks to the newly developed techniques even Sudan could still have an offspring.”

Image Via Jan Stejskal

Here’s how the world reacted to the sad passing of Sudan.

Image Via Ed Barthrop