On Monday, March 19, the last male Northern White Rhino in the world died after having to be euthanized by his caretakers. Sudan was 45 years old which would have made him 90 in human years, and had been suffering from his age. He had been suffering from degenerative changes in his muscles and bones, and he had developed extensive skin wounds.
Sudan’s death leaves behind only two Northern White Rhinos in the world who happen to be his daughter and granddaughter. Northern White Rhinos are one of two subspecies of White Rhinos, the other is the Southern White Rhino. While the Southern White Rhino population is around 20,000 members, the Northern White Rhino went extinct in the wild back in 2008.
The Northern White Rhino was subject to a vast amount of poaching during the 1970’s and 1980’s that all but exterminated the entire species. They were poached for their horns which are often used in traditional Chinese medicine and as dagger handles in Yemen. In the early 2000’s, the final dozen wild Northern White Rhinos were hunted down and killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Scientists are not giving up on the species just yet however, although they do admit it does not seem likely they will be able to bring the species back from extinction. They have preserved genetic material from multiple Northern White Rhinos and they hope to be able to artificially inseminate Southern White Rhinos with the embryos and will hopefully get a healthy Northern White Rhino Calf.
This is a horrible story, and we know that sometimes we need a reminder of the good in the world after a horrible time like this, so be sure to check out the video below!