We are just devasted! Sudan, the world’s last male Northern White Rhino, has passed away after suffering from poor health for the last few months, Ol Pejeta Conservancy where he was living shared on Facebook. The 45-year-old rhino lived at the Kenya sanctuary, where he was under 24-hour surveillance by armed guards to protect him from poachers. Sudan was suffering from an infected leg and spent his last few weeks lying in pain due to discomfort from the deep wound. When his health worsened, Sudan was humanely euthanized.
Sudan’s death marks a devastating truth: we have failed the Northern White Rhino. Human greed has led to the near extinction of a species … and it’s our fault.
There are only about 29,000 rhinos left in the wild, and around 1,000 are killed every year. Demand for rhino horn, largely used as an “aphrodisiac” in Traditional Chinese Medicine, has caused the extinction of a number of rhino species and the Northern White Rhino may be next. While it is believed that rhino horn possesses magical powers, in reality, it is composed of keratin, the same protein that makes up our hair and nails.
In the 1960s, there were over 2,000 Northern White Rhinos … now there are only TWO left: Sudan’s daughter and granddaughter. The Northern White Rhino populations in Uganda, Central African Republic, Sudan, and Chad were largely wiped out during the poaching crisis of the 1970s and 1980s and sadly, the population was never able to recover. Ol Pejeta Conservancy hopes to preserve the sub-species with in vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques.
“We at Ol Pejeta are all saddened by Sudan’s death. He was a great ambassador for his species and will be remembered for the work he did to raise awareness globally of the plight facing not only rhinos but also the many thousands of other species facing extinction as a result of unsustainable human activity. One day, his demise will hopefully be seen as a seminal moment for conservationists worldwide,” said Richard Vigne, Ol Pejeta’s CEO.
Let’s not let Sudan’s death be in vain. Please SHARE this article to help spread awareness about the peril of the Northern White Rhino. You can also directly support Ol Pejeta Conservancy as they fight to protect the last surviving Northern White Rhinos by donating to the organization on their website.
Other organizations working to save rhinos include:
Image Source: Ol Pejeta Conservancy