Sudan was the world's LAST male northern white rhino alive on the planet.
Sudan’s death could mean the extinction of his species, but if there is meaning in Sudan’s passing, it’s that all hope is not lost. This can be our wake-up call. In a world of more than 7 billion people, we must see ourselves as part of the landscape. Our fate is linked to the fate of animals.- Ami Vitale of National Geographic.
Sudan was named after the African country where he was captured at just two years old in 1975. Two males and four females were commissioned to be captured at the time to be taken to Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic to be part of a breeding program. During Sudan's time in the zoo, northern white rhinos were being poached extensively for their horns in the politically volatile Sudan and Congo (DRC). Rhinos, with a gestation period of over 18 months, didn't and couldn't reproduce fast enough to replace the lost numbers. In 2008, northern whites were wiped off the African continent leaving only six surviving captive rhinos including Sudan and three others, Suni (Sudan's son), Najin (Sudan's daughter) and Fatu (Sudan's grand-daughter).
Sudan and his family were brought to Kenya in 2009, zoo officials and conservationists finally accepting the effects of captivity on breeding and mating processes. All four had bent joints in the legs because of standing and moving around in the un-giving concrete floors of their Czech enclosure. Carrying around their body weight on concrete created many health complications. Suni, the other male and Sudan's son, died of health complications in 2014 leaving Sudan as the last man standing.
Sudan became a social media sensation of sorts with the hashtag #lastmalestanding and a Tinder account describing him as 'the most eligible bachelor in the world'. A swipe on Tinder takes users to a website which invites donations to help him and his species. He is definitely the most famous individual animal in the world now with high profile visitors including Leonardo DiCaprio and Elizabeth Hurley.
Courtesy: Dona Cherian at Gulf News 2014
Kenya commemorates last male northern white rhino.
Around 300 people gathered in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in the north of Kenya on Saturday to commemorate Sudan, the last male northern white rhino who recently died aged 45.Among the attendees was Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary from Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism, which organized the event. Balala expressed in his speech that wildlife is a valuable asset to Kenya and the death of Sudan acts as a reminder that more efforts must be made to protect endangered wildlife. Sudan, along with other two female northern white rhinos moved to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy from the Czech Republic in 2009. The three rhinos were placed under 24-hour armed protection. Unfortunately, the two female rhinos were unable to successfully conceive. It means a shame to us humans, because all of us have facilitated to that, and we always say we all blame poachers for killing our animals, but we never blame ourselves for not doing anything when they are doing that. How did it happen, and what part did I take? Sudan’s muscles started to degenerate with a skin infection on his hind legs in recent years, and gradually he became unable to stand. Following a unanimous decision made by officials of the Prague Zoological Garden, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Wildlife Protection Bureau in Kenya, Sudan was euthanized on March 19. Currently there are 20 tombstones of rhinos standing in the conservation area, with most of the Rhino deaths caused by poaching. In the 1960s, there were 2,000 wild northern white rhinos on earth, but now there are only two left – Sudan’s daughter and his granddaughter, and both have lost their natural reproduction capacity for physical reasons. “It means a shame to us humans, because all of us have facilitated to that, and we always say [that] we all blame poachers for killing our animals, but we never blame ourselves for not doing anything when they are doing that. How did it happen, and what part did I take? What am I doing to make sure that another species do not go extinct?” said James Mwenda, a breeder from the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Researchers are trying to save the northern white rhino population through modern breeding techniques, but such efforts are costly and difficult, meaning the northern white rhino is likely to become extinct in the future.
Courtesy: Africa News - April 2018.
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