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​World's Last Male Northern White Rhino Honoured In Memorial Ceremony

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​World's Last Male Northern White Rhino Honoured In Memorial Ceremony

Less than two weeks after the last male northern white rhino died, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy has held a memorial ceremony to honour him.

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Sudan, who was the only male northern white rhinoceros, died on 20 March due to 'age-related' complications.

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The 45-year-old animal was euthanised by staff at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy - which is north of Nairobi, Kenya - after an illness 'worsened significantly' and he was left unable to stand.

11 days after Sudan's death, the conservancy has now held a memorial service for the late rhino. According to National Geographic, the service was a tribute to Sudan's life and began with the Kenyan national anthem, a poem and a minute of silence.

"Fare thee well Sudan," the conservancy posted on its Facebook page.

"You have done your work to highlight the plight of rhino species across the world; now the onus is on us to ensure that rhino populations thrive across our planet."

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Speeches came from guest of the honour, Cabinet Secretary for Wildlife and Tourism Najib Balala, along with one of Sudan's keepers, James Mwenda, who gave a speech about the rhino's life - and urged the world not to let his death be in vain.

A carrot, which was Sudan's favourite food, was placed on a ceremonial plaque.

His species will now face almost-certain extinction with just two female northern white rhinos left, which also live at the conservancy.

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"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," said the conservancy's CEO, Richard Vigne.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Sadly, all recent attempts at getting Sudan to mate naturally with his 27-year-old female companion Najin failed -leading to conservationists to put Sudan on Tinder last year to raise money for fertility treatment.

Scientists hoped to help Sudan reproduce via IVF, using sperm taken from him and eggs taken from Najin. The embryo would have been implanted in a surrogate southern white rhino, Ngulu said.

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However, it is now unclear whether reproduction using Sudan's genetic material will still be possible.

Along with Najin, Sudan also lived at Ol Pejeta Conservancy with another female companion, 17-year-old Fatu.

Zachary Mutai, who cared for Sudan at Ol Pejeta for the last eight years, previously said he was sad to see Sudan getting older, saying that 'Sudan is my great friend'.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News, Animals, rhino

Jess Hardiman
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