By RAELEIGH SMITH (contributing reporter) – Recently (March 19) Sudan the last male Northern White Rhino died, leaving only two females remaining. Rhinoceroses – of which there are five species – are the second-largest land mammal after elephants.
The white rhinoceros consists of two subspecies: the Southern White Rhino and the much rarer and critically endangered Northern White Rhino. Sudan, who was the equivalent of 90 in human years, was the last surviving male of the rarer variety after the natural death of a second male in late 2014.
The subspecies’ population in Uganda, Central African Republic, Sudan and Chad was largely wiped out during the poaching crisis of the 1970’s and 1980’s. Poaching was fueled by demand for rhino horn for use in traditional Chinese medicine, and for dagger handles in Yemen.
The last few dozen wild northern white rhinos in the Democratic Republic of Congo had been killed by the early 2000’s. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, by 2008, the Northern White Rhino was considered extinct in the wild.
Sudan’s death puts the entire species on hold and possibly doomed for extinction. In 2009, the four remaining Northern White Rhinos, two males and two females, were transferred from the Czech Zoo to Ol Pejeta in Kenya. The hope was that the new environment, reflecting their native habitat, would encourage breeding. However, there were no successful pregnancies, and Sudan was retired from his role as a potential mate four years ago.
Other attempts to conserve some of the Northern White Rhino genes by mating 27-year-old Najin and her 17-year-old daughter Fatu with a southern white male also failed.
Scientist collected his DNA to try and save the species but the future looks rather dim. Due to this fact many conservationists have created campaigns based around it to save the other Rhino species before it is to late.
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