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Wednesday, 21 March 2018 - 10:19
World's last surviving male northern white rhino dies
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The world's last surviving male northern white rhino, ‘Sudan’ has died after months of poor health.
 
The 45-year-old animal lived at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.
 
He was put to sleep on Monday after age-related complications worsened significantly.
 
His death leaves only two females - his daughter and granddaughter - of the subspecies alive in the world.
 
Hope for preserving the northern white rhino now lies in developing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques.
 
"His death is a cruel symbol of human disregard for nature and it saddened everyone who knew him," said Jan Stejskal, an official at Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, where Sudan had lived until 2009.
 
"We must take advantage of the unique situation in which cellular technologies are utilised for conservation of critically endangered species. It may sound unbelievable, but thanks to the newly developed techniques even Sudan could still have an offspring."
 
The white rhinoceros consists of two sub-species: the southern white rhino and the much rarer and critically endangered northern white rhino.
 
Sudan, who was the equivalent of 90 in human years, was the last surviving male of the rarer variety after the natural death of a second male in late 2014.
 
The subspecies' population in Uganda, Central African Republic, Sudan and Chad was largely wiped out during the poaching crisis of the 1970s and 1980s.
 
Poaching was fuelled by demand for rhino horn for use in traditional Chinese medicine, and for dagger handles in Yemen.

Ranger Zacharia Mutai, pictured, comforts Sudan, the last living male Northern White Rhino on the planet, moments before he was euthanised by a vet due to his age-related muscle and bone wasting disease at the Ole Pejeta Wildlife park in Kenya
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