World’s last male northern white rhino dies in Kenya

Sudan, who rose to fame on Tinder, was put to sleep after suffering age-related complications

Northern white rhino Sudan
Northern white rhino Sudan
(Image credit: Michal Cizek/Getty Images)

The last male northern white rhino in the world has died in captivity in Kenya, bringing the subspecies closer to extinction.

The 45-year-old rhino, named Sudan, was euthanised by vets after suffering age-related complications that that left him with painful open wounds, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy said.

“His condition worsened significantly in the last 24 hours; he was unable to stand up and was suffering a great deal,” it said.

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His death leaves only two females of the subspecies alive - his daughter Najin and granddaughter Fatu, who remain at the Kenyan wildlife centre.

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Sudan made headlines last year after conservationists signed him up to the dating app Tinder to try and raise money for fertility treatment.

The only hope in preserving the subspecies now lies in developing IVF techniques. “Luckily, we have plenty of rhino semen,” Ol Pejeta’s Richard Vigne told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme.

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The process would involve using eggs from the two remaining females, stored northern white rhino semen from males and surrogate southern white rhino females.

Poaching has brought the northern white rhinos to the brink of extinction. Their horns are sold for up to £50,000 a kilo on the black market.

“Sudan was the last northern white rhino that was born in the wild,” said Jan Stejskal of Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, where Sudan lived until 2009. “His death is a cruel symbol of human disregard for nature and it saddened everyone who knew him.”

But there is good news elsewhere, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says.

The southern white rhino has recovered from a population of fewer than 100 in the late 19th century to just over 20,000 today, and rhino poaching in Nepal has been reduced to almost zero, it reports.

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