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Last male Northern White Rhino ‘Sudan’ dies in Kenya

The world’s last surviving male northern white rhino Sudan has died after months of ill health, his carers said, leaving only two females of its subspecies alive in the world at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

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. Northern white rhinos once roamed parts of Chad, Sudan, Uganda, Congo and Central African Republic, and were particularly vulnerable because of the armed conflicts that have swept the region over decades.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya said in a statement the 45-year-old rhino was euthanized on 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.

Hope for preserving the northern white rhino now lies in developing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques. Attempts to use Sudan to prolong the species with the two surviving female rhinos had failed, and an account was created by environmentalists for him on the dating app Tinder as “The Most Eligible Bachelor in the World” last year, not to find love, but to help fund the development of IVF for rhinos hoping to raise enough money to pay for a $9 million fertility treatment. The move won him fans across the world – fans who will now be mourning his death and the northern white rhino’s proximity to extinction.

Sudan’s daughter Najin and Najin’s daughter Fatu – last two surviving females of the subspecies

Additionally, his genetic material was collected on Monday and provides a hope for future attempts at the reproduction of northern white rhinos through advanced cellular technologies to revive the species seemingly doomed for extinction.

“Sudan’s death is a cruel symbol of human disregard for nature and it saddened everyone who knew him. But we should not give up,” said Jan Stejskal, director of international projects at Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic.

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