We’re Sorry, and Goodbye
After months of poor health, Sudan, the worlds last remaining male northern white rhino has died, leaving his daughter and granddaughter as the very last of the species on earth.
File under “things that could have easily been prevented if the world were a better place” — Sudan, the worlds last remaining male northern white rhino has been put to sleep after a months-long illness worsened significantly.
The death of Sudan leaves his daughter and granddaughter as the very last known living members of the species on earth, and given their gender, signals the end as we know it to the existence of this majestic animal.
“His death is a cruel symbol of human disregard for nature and it saddened everyone who knew him,” said Jan Stejskal, an official at Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, where Sudan had lived until 2009. “But we should not give up,” he added according to AFP news agency.
Stejskal suggests using modern technology to revive the species “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.”
Rhinoceroses consist of a total of five different subspecies, including the ultra-rare and critically endangered north white rhinoceros and the more abundant southern white rhino.
The dangerously low levels of rhinoceroses left on earth can be attributed almost entirely to poaching. The entire species was nearly eradicated in the 1970s and 1980s but has since rebounded to some extent, as laws have become more strict regarding the usage and possession of rhino horns.
That news is cold comfort for the northern white rhino, which, short of cloning, IVF or other false fertilization techniques, is very clearly about to become completely extinct. Sudan’s genetic material was collected on Monday with the hope of preserving the species. Sperm samples have also been preserved for a number of other northern white rhinos, along with eggs from female northern white rhinos.
Sudan was the equivalent of 90 in human years and became the last living male of his subspecies after dozens of wild northern white rhinos were killed in the Congo in the early 2000s. He was put down after being treated for degenerative changes due to his age, as well as extensive skin wounds. Sudan may seem familiar to you, as his carers created a Tindr profile for him in 2017 in an effort to raise awareness about the dire condition of the northern white rhino.
Rhino IVF is a radically new procedure which could cost as much as $10 million. Still, it is giving conservationists hope that someday the northern white rhino may live on.
March 20, 2018
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