The Last Male Northern White Rhino In The World Has Died

This is terrible news in all other regards but great news if you’re in the mood to suddenly feel overwhelming despair at just how much we’ve fucked up everything on the planet: the last male northern white rhino has died in captivity.

In a post on FacebookOl Pejeta Conservancy said that Sudan, 45, was suffering from “age-related complications” and had to be euthanised:

It is with great sadness that Ol Pejeta Conservancy and the Dvůr Králové Zoo announce that Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino, age 45, died at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya on March 19th, 2018 (yesterday). 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; he was unable to stand up and was suffering a great deal. The veterinary team from the Dvůr Králové Zoo, Ol Pejeta and Kenya Wildlife Service made the decision to euthanize him.

With Sudan gone, there are now only two northern white rhinos left in the world, Sudan’s daughter Najin and her daughter Fatu. As the AP notes, a “copy of his genetic material” was taken on the day of his death, with the hope that future technology could make use of the material to bring the species back. For now, the only hope lies in the use of in vitro fertilisation with eggs from the two surviving rhinos and frozen northern white rhino sperm, using southern white rhino females as surrogates.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s CEO Richard Vigne said that he would be missed:

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. One day, his demise will hopefully be seen as a seminal moment for conservationists world wide.

Sudan made headlines last year when his profile was featured on Tinder in an effort to raise awareness.