We hear these kinds of stories all the time, from different regions around the world. Today, it might be about pandas; tomorrow, about tigers. Whatever the species might be, it is obvious that much of our wildlife is under threat. Extinction is a real and pressing problem that we should all care about. One of the most recent species to suffer extinction is the northern white rhinoceros, with the recent death of its last male survivor named Sudan.
When he died on March 19, 2018, Sudan had spent around ten years under 24-hour surveillance by armed guarded at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. At the time of his death, he had been 45 years old and was past the usual breeding age for white rhinos. In his final months, he also suffered from degenerative changes that caused extreme pain in his bones and muscles. The team of veterinarians who were in charge of Sudan had to make the difficult decision of euthanizing him once it was clear that he wouldn’t be able to recover and to take him out of his painful condition.
Sudan’s death left behind two survivors of his subspecies: two female northern white rhinos named Najin and Fatu. The two happened to be from Sudan’s bloodline—Najin was his daughter while Fatu was his granddaughter. To regenerate the species, plans for in vitro fertilization for the surviving white rhinos has been discusses, but the highly complicated process is sensitive as well as extremely expensive, costing millions of dollars.
The northern white rhino was a subspecies that originated from Chad, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic. Due to excessive illegal poaching practices caused by political unrest and violence, their population was quickly decimated within just a few years. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is one of the few reserves in Kenya that is working to protect their species.
Learn more about the story of Sudan, the last male northern rhino when you watch these videos.