The world’s last male northern white rhino has died in Kenya at the age of 45.
The northern white rhino named Sudan suffered from age related issues in his last few days before his death.
Sudan was euthanised by the Ol Pejeta Conservancy after he was unable to stand.
Is the northern white rhino extinct?
The northern white rhino is near extinction with the death of Sudan. The only animals left are two females – his daughter and granddaughter.
In 1900, half a million rhinos roamed between Africa and Asia.
However, in 1970 the rhinos were poached for their horns and skin and their habitat was lost, causing this figure to drop to 70,000.
Jo Shaw, African Rhino Lead for World Wildlife Fund, said the “real fight” for the animal was the loss of their natural habitat.
“Large mammals, like rhinos, should be seen as symbols of large functioning ecosystems and we must focus our efforts and energy on their protection and ongoing survival within these vital landscapes around the globe,” Ms Shaw said.
Is there hope for the northern white rhino species?
Yes, there is hope for the species.
In 1975, Sudan was moved from Africa to the Czech Republic where he stayed in captivity until December 2009.
He was moved as it was thought the spacious, African climate would stimulate the rhino to breed.
The breeding attempt failed, but according to National Geographic, “sex cells were harvested from other living northern white rhinos”.
So there is a chance IVF could be used to impregnate female rhinos of other subspecies with fertilised embryos of the white rhino.
What is the difference between the northern and southern white rhino?
There are many differences between the northern and southern white rhino, one being they exist in different parts of Africa.
The northern white rhino are smaller, with a male weighing around 1400-1600 kilograms.
They have straight backs, flat skulls, hairier ears and tails, a shorter front horn and no grooves between ribs.
The southern white rhino are larger, weighing at 2000-2400kg. They have a concave back and skull with a prominent shoulder hump.
The southern white rhinos sometimes have distinct vertical grooves between their ribs with more body hair and a longer front horn.
Are the southern white rhinos extinct?
According to WWF, the southern white rhinos are near threatened however they are being held in protected sanctuaries.
In 2015, there were approximately over 20,000 southern white rhinos.