The world’s last male northern white rhino has died, the Kenyan conservancy taking care of it says, leaving only two of its subspecies alive in the world.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya said in a statement the 45-year-old rhino was euthanised on Tuesday (Monday local time) after his condition “worsened significantly” and he was no longer able to stand.
His muscles and bones had degenerated and his skin had extensive wounds.
The rhino had been part of an ambitious effort to save the subspecies from extinction with the help of the two surviving females.
“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,” the conservancy’s CEO, Richard Vigne, said.
A copy of his genetic material was taken on the day of his death in the hope that future technology could potentially revive the species seemingly doomed for extinction.
Today was heartbreaking for us all as the world says goodbye to Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino on Earth. We are sending all our love to the team at @OlPejeta who have lost part of their family today. Now, more than ever, we must stand together and protect our rhinos. pic.twitter.com/uTX2kmUjEL
— Bindi Irwin (@BindiIrwin) March 20, 2018
Only two females of the northern white rhino species remain, Sudan’s daughter Najin and Najin’s daughter Fatu.
While there are thousands of southern white rhinos still roaming the plains of sub-Saharan Africa, decades of rampant poaching drastically cut northern white rhino numbers.
Sudan was something of a celebrity, attracting thousands of visitors.
In 2017, conservationists put Sudan on the dating app Tinder as “The Most Eligible Bachelor in the World”, hoping to raise enough money for a $US9 million ($11.7 million) fertility treatment as all attempts at getting him to mate naturally had failed.
He had been born in Sudan, taken to a Czech zoo and then transferred to Kenya in 2009. Rangers caring for Sudan described him as gentle.