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Sudan takes his last breath

Sudan

Sudan at Ol Pejeta conservancy. File Photo | JOSEPH KANYI

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Summary

  • Team reached decision on realising Sudan’s health was deteriorating by the day despite concerted efforts to re-invigorate his immune system.
  • Sudan escaped extinction in the 70’s when he was living in the wild and was moved to Dvůr Králové Zoo where he sired two females, his daughter Najin and their granddaughter, Fatu both living at Ol Pejeta.
  • Sudan’s genetic material had been harvested for use in future.

The world's last surviving male northern white rhino, Sudan, has died at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy after a team of veterinarians decided to end his life to ease his suffering.

Ol Pejeta’s Chief executive, Richard Vigne, the veterinary team from Ol Pejeta, Czech Republic’s Dvůr Králové Zoo and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), reached the decision on realising Sudan’s health was deteriorating by the day despite efforts to re-invigorate his immune system.

“Sudan was being treated for age-related complications that led to degenerative changes in muscles and bones combined with extensive skin wounds. His condition worsened significantly in the last 24 hours that he was unable to stand up and was suffering a great deal.

“We on Ol Pejeta are all saddened by Sudan’s death. He was 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 the CEO in a statement Tuesday.

Sudan escaped extinction in the 70’s when he was living in the wild and was moved to Dvůr Králové Zoo where he sired two females, his daughter Najin and their granddaughter, Fatu both living at Ol Pejeta.

In a statement, the not for profit wildlife sanctuary said Sudan’s genetic material had been harvested for use in future attempts at replenishing the northern white rhinos through advanced cellular technologies.

Sudan was among four northern white rhinos airlifted from Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic to Kenya’s Ol Pejeta after all previous breeding attempts in the zoo failed.

“The only hope for the preservation of this subspecies now lies in developing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques using eggs from the two remaining females, stored northern white rhino semen from males and surrogate southern white rhino females,” said the statement.

READ: Technology last hope of saving white rhino

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"The Last Three," billed as the world's largest rhino sculpture by artists Gillie and Marc Art at Astor Place in New York on March 15, 2018. They recreated the last three Northern White Rhinos – Sudan, Najin, and Fatu – in a 17-foot bronze sculpture. AFP PHOTO | TIMOTHY A. CLARY