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The Last Male Northern White Rhino On Earth Just Died

Born in 1973, Sudan was first caught in Shambe, South Sudan, then moved to the Dvůr Králové Zoo in Czech Republic. He was moved again to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in 2009 with three other Northern white rhinoceroses, including his daughter, Najin, and granddaughter, Fatu, for a “Last Chance To Survive” breeding program.

Sadly, however, Sudan has tragically just passed away.

The Ol Pejeta Conservancy announced the news via Twitter, saying, “It is with great sadness that Ol Pejeta Conservancy and the Dvůr Králové Zoo announce that Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino, age 45, died at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya on March 19th, 2018.”

Born in 1973, Sudan was first caught in Shambe, South Sudan, then moved to the Dvůr Králové Zoo in Czech Republic. He was moved again to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in 2009 with three other Northern white rhinoceroses, including his daughter, Najin, and granddaughter, Fatu, for a "Last Chance To Survive" breeding program.

Unfortunately, breeding efforts with Sudan had been unsuccessful at the conservancy. Making matters worse, the third rhino transported there with him died in 2014, leaving Sudan, Najin, and Fatu the last living Northern white rhinoceroses. The only two remaining are both females.

Unfortunately, breeding efforts with Sudan have been unsuccessful at the conservancy. Making matters worse, the third rhino transported there with him died in 2014, leaving Sudan, Najin, and Fatu the last living  Northern white rhinoceroses.

The threat to these rhinos is so great that they are all surrounded by guards to protect them from poachers. They’re also monitored with horn-embedded transmitters. The biggest threat to Sudan, however, was time. Sadly, his health began deteriorating around December 2017 due to old age. He lost his battle with time yesterday.

At the conservancy, the three are protected 24 hours a day from poaching with fences, watchtowers, drones, guard dogs, and trained armed guards. They're also monitored with horn-embedded transmitters.

While this is a crushing blow to the dying species, measures were taken before his death to extract his DNA. The hope is that his DNA, along with the eggs of the two remaining females, can be carried by a surrogate of a different type of rhino to conserve the population. Per the conservancy in December 2017, “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.”

“The fate of the northern white rhino subspecies depends on this operation going smoothly,” they continued. We sincerely hope that it works, since rhino populations in general all around the world are declining, mostly due to heavy poaching. Rest in peace, Sudan. You’ll be missed!

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