Sudan is survived by the last two known Northern white rhinos in the world, his daughter Najin and granddaughter Fatu

By Kelli Bender
March 20, 2018 11:14 AM
Advertisement
Nichole Sobecki for The Washington Post/Getty

The Northern white rhino species is one tragic step closer to extinction.

On March 19, Sudan, the last known male Northern white rhino died, according to Ol Pejeta Conservancy — Sudan’s home since 2009.

Earlier in the month the conservancy, which protected the rhino from poachers with a 24-hour armed guard, announced that Sudan was ill and caretakers did not expect him to recover. The non-profit said the 45-year-old rhino, who was about 90 in humans years, suffered from age-related health issues and infections later in life.

Nichole Sobecki for The Washington Post/Getty

“Once his condition worsened significantly and he was unable to stand up and evidently, suffered a great deal, the decision to euthanize him was made by his veterinary team,” the conservancy wrote in its announcement of Sudan’s death.

Sudan became the last male of his species in 2014 when the other two remaining male Northern white rhinos, Suni and Angalifu, died. This position earned the rhino international attention, which included an April 2017 partnership with Tinder and Ogilvy Africa. Sudan appeared on the dating app as the ‘most eligible bachelor in the world,’ and raised over $85,000 on Tinder for rhino conservation efforts, according to Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty

There are now only two known Northern white rhinos left in the world, Sudan’s daughter Najin and his granddaughter Fatu. With only females left, the species appears bound for extinct.

While Sudan was unable to sire more rhinos in his later years, the gentle giant raised awareness about wildlife conservation across the globe and encouraged the development of scientific answers to extinction, which Ol Pejeta Conservancy hopes will help protect other endangered animals in the future and potentially save the Northern white rhino after all.

“His distinguished but tenuous role was a catalyst for scientists to come up with technological innovations that could potentially bring back Northern white rhinos from the brink of extinction,” the conversancy wrote in its obituary for Sudan. “Such advances, for example IVF engineering, may hopefully be used one day in preventing the extinction of other species, breaking new ground in global conservation technology. Yet more credit for Sudan, albeit posthumously.”