In this May 3, 2017, photo, a ranger takes care of Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino, at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia county, Kenya [AP Photo]
Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino has died, leaving only two female northern white rhinos alive in the world, Kenyan conservation officials announced.
Sudan, who was known as the “gentle giant” and lived in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, was euthanised after his condition worsened, the officials said on Tuesday.
Sudan had been part of an effort to save the subspecies from extinction.
“He was a great ambassador for his species and will be remembered for the work he did to raise awareness … of the plight facing not only rhinos but also the many thousands of other species facing extinction as a result of unsustainable human activity,” Ol Pejeta CEO Richard Vigne said.
Sudan attracted thousands of visitors and was listed as “The Most Eligible Bachelor in the World,” on the Tinder dating app in a fundraising effort that hoped to raise money to pay for a $9m fertility treatment.
Ol Pejeta said they had collected Sudan’s genetic material and this could be used in an attempt to reproduce northern white rhinos.
“The only hope for the preservation of this subspecies now lies in developing in vitro fertilisation techniques using eggs from the two remaining females, stored northern white rhino semen from males and surrogate southern white rhino females,” Ol Pejeta said in a statement.
Heartbreaking news. #Sudan, the last male northern white #rhino on our planet, died yesterday in Kenya.
Rhino poaching grew by 9,000% in 10 years. Let’s all learn from this sad loss and increase measures to end #WildlifeTrafficking.
— UNODC (@UNODC) March 20, 2018
According to the conservation group, the demand for rhino horn in traditional Chinese medicine in Asia and dagger handles in Yemen wiped out the white rhino populations in Uganda, Central African Republic, Sudan and Chad.
By 2008, the northern white rhino was considered to be extinct in the wild.
White rhino horns can reach a value of $50,000 a kilo, making them more valuable than gold.
While there are still southern white rhinos in sub-Saharan Africa, decades of poaching have drastically cut numbers of northern whites.