The final photograph of Sudan, the last male northern white Rhino in the world, has released by National Geographic; the heartbreaking image shows him being comforted by a ranger right before he died.
National Geographic uploaded the picture on their Instagram account. It showed Sudan in his last moments, just before his death, on the 20th of March, 2018.
A wildlife ranger, Zacharia Mutai, is shown in the heartbreaking photograph, saying his goodbyes to the last male northern white rhinoceros on this planet.
Sudan resided in the Ol Peteja wildlife reserve of Kenya before he died. His death came about as a result of a degenerative muscle disease and an age-inflicted bone condition.
The keepers of the Ol Peteja wildlife reserve found Sudan not being able to stand up and decided to euthanize him on Monday.
The photograph was taken by Ami Vitale, a National Geographic photographer, who said on Instagram, “With a heavy heart, I share this news and hope that Sudan’s legacy will awaken us to protect this magnificent and fragile planet. Yesterday, Zachariah Mutai comforted Sudan, the last living male Northern White Rhino moments before he passed away.”
Ami Vitale also wrote, “Sudan lived a long, healthy life at the conservancy after he was brought to Kenya from @safari_park_dvur_kralov in the #czechrepublic in 2009. He died surrounded by people who loved him at @olpejeta after suffering from age-related complications that led to degenerative changes in muscles and bones combined with extensive skin wounds. Sudan has been an inspirational figure for many across the world. Thousands have trooped to Ol Pejeta to see him and he has helped raise awareness for rhino conservation.”
“The two female northern white rhinos left on the planet are his direct descendants. Research into new Assisted Reproductive Techniques for large mammals is underway due to him. The impact that this special animal has had on conservation is simply incredible. And there is still hope in the future that the subspecies might be restored through IVF.”
“I had the privilege of following this gentle hulking creature on his journey from the snowy Dvur Kralove in the Czech Republic to the warm plains of Kenya when he was transported with three of his fellow Northern White Rhinos in a last-ditch effort to save the subspecies. It was believed that the air, water, and food, not to mention room to roam, might stimulate them to breed—and the offspring would then be used to depopulate Africa. At the time, there were 8 Northern white rhinos alive, all in zoos. Today, we are witnessing the extinction of a species that had survived for millions of years but could not survive mankind.”
Richard Vigne, Conservancy CEO, said: “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 an unsustainable human activity.”
Kevin Pieterson, a former England Cricket Team player, commented on the tragic death, “We failed Sudan & all the other Northern White Rhinos! Animal lovers, it’s time to go to work to save ALL other rhinos!”
During his last few months, there were attempts to mate Sudan with the last two surviving females, a 27-year-old Najin and a 17-year-old Fatu, in effort to continue the rhino population. Unfortunately, the last two surviving female northern white rhinos suffered from conditions that made them incapable of conceiving.
When it began to appear that Sudan was about to die, the organization made a Tinder profile of Sudan, in an attempt to help fund the development of in vitro fertilization (IVF) for Sudan and other rhinos.
His bio on Tinder read, “I’m one of a kind. No seriously. I’m the last male white rhino on planet Earth. I don’t mean to be too forward, but the fate of my species literally depends on me. I perform well under pressure. I like to eat grass and chill in the mud. No problems. Six foot tall and 5,000 pounds if it matters.”
If we look back at 1960, there were more than 2,000 northern white rhinos in the world, but because of poaching, there were only 15 left by 1984, putting them on the list of endangered species.
Rest in Peace, Sudan.
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