Sudan, the last male northern white rhino died on March 19th, but his DNA lives on thanks in part to Sudan’s dashing Tinder profile.
Conservationists, environmentalists and animal lovers everywhere mourned the loss of Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, last Monday. Sudan died after prolonged suffering from age-related complications. He was 45 years old when he died peacefully at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya where he lived.
Sudan was euthanized by veterinarians to save him from unnecessary suffering from the many infections and wounds on his body. He was also weak and could barely manage to stand.
After Sudan’s death, only two northern white rhinos remain on earth now–Sudan’s daughter and granddaughter, named Najin and Fatu, respectively. They both live at the same conservancy as Sudan did.
“We at Ol Pejeta are all saddened by Sudan’s death. He was an amazing rhino, a great ambassador for his species, and will be remembered for the work he did to raise awareness globally of the plight facing not only rhinos, but also the many thousands of other species facing extinction as a result of unsustainable human activity,” said Richard Vigne, CEO of Ol Pejeta Conservancy, in a statement eulogizing Sudan.
Sudan joined Tinder to raise funds to preserve northern white rhinos
In 2017 Sudan joined the dating site Tinder in a bid to raise funds for rhino conservancy and to raise awareness for the threat of extinction that northern white rhinos face. The goal was to raise $10 million to develop in vitro fertilization (IVF) methods for rhinos.
Sudan struggled to find success on Tinder, with one report claiming fundraising reached only around $100,000. Sudan currently still has a GoFundMe page where you can donate in memory of Sudan and support the IVF research that is trying to bring northern white rhino’s back from the brink of extinction.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy chief executive, Richard Vigne hoped that efforts to save northern white rhino would continue, further stating, “One day, his demise will hopefully be seen as a seminal moment for conservationists worldwide.”
Who is to blame for near extinction of the northern white rhino?
Many feel the death of the last male northern white rhino on earth exposes the selfish and cruel disregard for animal and nature conservation by humans. The total rhino population has, for the last two decades, dropped significantly due to massive poaching.
Towards the end of the twentieth century, northern white rhinos freely roamed in their natural habitat in the Dominican Republic of Congo, Chad, Central Africa Republic and Sudan. Demand for rhino horns fueled their poaching, drastically reducing their numbers. The horns are believed to be an ingredient for traditional Chinese medicine, causing China to be implicated for the rising poaching of elephants in Africa.
Before his death, conservationists at Ol Pejeta had tried to mate Sudan with Najin in a bid to preserve the subspecies. They had also tried to mate the northern females with male southern white rhinos, but that, too had failed.
Saving the subspecies
Currently, the only hope of saving the subspecies is through in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Conservationists collected and preserved genetic material from Sudan before he was euthanized. In a process that is estimated to cost $9 million, the conservancy intends to obtain an egg from the remaining females, fertilize it with Sudan’s semen and implant it in a surrogate female southern white rhino.
News of Sudan’s death was received with sadness and dismay throughout the world, with many people offering their apology to Sudan for what they felt was failure on the part of the human race.