Sudan, the last Northern White Rhino, Died Yesterday

Sudan like other White Rhinos had been taken from the wild in hopes to protect him and produce offspring to save the species. He was taken to Dvůr Králové zoo in the Czech Republic. Some yeas later he was taken back to Africa to the Ol Pejeta conservancy, There he won the hearts and respect of those who cared for him “with his dignity and strength”.

“He was a gentle giant, his personality was just amazing and given his size, a lot of people were afraid of him. But there was nothing mean about him,” said Elodie Sampere, a representative for Ol Pejeta.

With the passing of the other captive Northern White Rhinos Sudan was the last thread of hope to cling to.

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He was placed under 24 hour armed guards for his protection.

There are five species of Rhinoceroses, the world’s second largest land mammal, elephants being the largest. The White Rhinos consist of two-subspecies, the Southern White Rhino and the critically endangered Northern White Rhino. They have been hunted to near extinction due to poaching. Their population in Uganda, Central African Republic, Sudan and Chad were nearly wiped out from poaching in the 1970s and 1980s. They were killed because people with money demanded rhino horn for use in traditional Chinese medicine, and for dagger handles in Yemen.

By 2008, the northern white rhino was considered extinct in the wild, according to WWF, the global environment campaign.

Sudan, named for where he was born in the wild, was 45 and suffering from degenerative muscles and wounds could no longer stand. Treatment was not working. Vets at the at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, where he was living, had to euthanize him. The world’s last hope to save the Northern White Rhino.

There has to be something gravely wrong with a species that wipes out another species strictly for ego. That the death of an animal would bring so much money that armed guards are necessary to protect the last remaining male. What are people doing? What do we value? Why do people with so much money think killing an animal for prestige is so much more important than the animal?

The only hope for continuing the species lies in artificially inseminating Sudan’s daughter or granddaughter, either Najin or her daughter, Fatu. Either way the genetic diversity is lost.

What were we thinking?

“His death is a cruel symbol of human disregard for nature and it saddened everyone who knew him,” said Jan Stejskal, an official at Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, where Sudan had lived until 2009.

At Forgotten Nations the loss of an animal cuts deeply into our hearts. The loss of a species leaves yet another dark hole on our ailing planet.

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