Health of world's last male northern white rhino in decline
The health of the world's last male northern white rhino has gone down. This brings the rhino subspecies a step closer to extinction. It has been caused by poaching.
The rhino is 45 years old. It is named is Sudan. He is listed as "The Most Eligible Bachelor in the World." That's according to a post on the Tinder dating app. It was posted last year. It was for a fundraiser. He lives with the last two female northern white rhinos. Kenya's Ol Pejeta Conservancy said Thursday that Sudan was struggling. This was despite 24-hour care by veterinarians.
Sudan appeared to recover well from an infection. It had developed on his back right leg. That was at the end of 2017. But another, deeper infection was recently discovered. It was in the same area, the conservancy said.
"We are very concerned about him. He's extremely old for a rhino and we do not want him to suffer unnecessarily." That's according to a statement released by the conservancy.
Sudan arrived at Ol Pejeta from a Czech zoo. He came with the females. Their names are Najin and Fatu. They came in 2009. They came along with a second male. He was from the same subspecies. He has since died.
Scientists hope to save the northern white rhino from extinction. They plan to use southern white rhinos as surrogates. They will carry northern white rhino embryos and give birth.
San Diego's zoo had some northern white rhinos. But the last one died. That was in 2015.
Northern white rhinos once roamed parts of Chad. They roamed Sudan. They roamed Uganda. They roamed Congo. And they roamed Central African Republic. There were more than 2,000 remaining as recently as 1960. That's according to Save the Rhino International. It is a London-based group.
The last northern white rhinos in the wild were observed more than a decade ago. That was in Congo's Garamba National Park. Those animals have often been targeted by armed groups amid conflict in the region. Efforts to safeguard the subspecies by moving a small number to Kenya collapsed.
There are roughly 20,000 southern white rhinos. They are in Africa. Efforts to save them from extinction began in the 1950s. Their numbers had dwindled to fewer than 100 in the late 19th century. That was because of uncontrolled hunting.
African rhinos remain under intense pressure from poachers. They kill them to meet demand for their horns. They are sold in illegal markets. These are primarily in Vietnam and China. There are about 5,000 critically endangered black rhinos.
The greater one-horned rhino species has been recovering in China. It has a population of several thousand. The Sumatran and Javan rhinos are in extreme peril. Fewer than 100 of each species remain.