By Rachel Petticrew
The last male Northern White Rhino, named Sudan, is battling a ‘grave’ illness, and carers at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya fear his death is imminent.
Forty-five-year-old Sudan, who in 2014 became the last remaining male white rhino on the planet, is suffering from a serious infection in his back right leg, which is believed to be caused by age. The lifespan of a captive white rhino is 40-50 years on average.
Sudan is one of three northern white rhino’s left on earth, along with his daughter Najin and granddaughter Fatu, who also reside at the Conservancy in Kenya.
Unfortunately, both females are incapable of reproducing due to health ailments.
The Rhino’s carers have admitted that the rhino’s future is ‘not looking bright’, and that should Sudan face any further pain they may have to consider euthanasia.
Although both sperm and egg cells from the species have been stored in several labs around the world, previous attempts to create an embryo outside of the womb have not made it past a few weeks growth.
National Geographic stated the subspecies would “require nothing short of a miracle to be saved from extinction.”
The rapid eradication of northern white rhinos is due wholly to poaching, as their horns are of great value. Between 1960 and 1985, the number of these creatures dropped from two thousand to just fifteen.
Sudan has been in captivity since he was two years old, but spent much of his early years in freezing conditions and restricted, concrete compounds. Sudan and his family all suffer from bent joints in their legs, due to standing and moving around in the concrete floors of their Czech Republic enclosure where they lived until being transported to their comfortable sanctuary in Laikipia county, Kenya.