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Sad Photos Emerge Of The Last Male Northern White Rhino's Final Moments

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Sad Photos Emerge Of The Last Male Northern White Rhino's Final Moments

Sudan, the last male northern white rhino has died. It's a poignant moment, not just because a majestic animal who happened to be the last of his kind is dead, but because it was so avoidable.

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The entire population of northern white rhinos was destroyed by poachers looking to sell the creatures' horns in Asia.

For his last few years, Sudan and his daughter and granddaughter - Najin and Fatu, respectively - were forced to live under armed guard at their nature reserve in Kenya.

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Now photos have emerged of the elderly rhino being comforted in his last moments by one of the rangers at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

Attempts had been made to get the rhinos to breed, but they had been unsuccessful. Now the only hope for the species is trying to artificially inseminate one of the remaining females.

Credit: AMI VITALE/National Geographic Creative
Credit: AMI VITALE/National Geographic Creative

Sudan had been suffering with some muscle and bone problems, with several wounds on his body becoming infected and struggling to heal.

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The conservancy released a statement that said: "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 Dver Kralove Zoo, Ol Pejeta and Kenya Wildlife Service made the decision to euthanise him."

Last year, biologist Daniel Schneider posted an image of Sudan to Twitter that brought the point home:

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In 1960 there were more than 2,000 northern white rhinos in the wild. Due to extensive poaching there were only 22 left by 2004.

By 2006 the last four of the subspecies in the wild were thought to have been killed by poachers and they were considered to be extinct in the wild by 2008.

Shortly after that, the three rhinos (including Sudan) were shipped from a Czech zoo to Kenya as part of a last ditch attempt to revive the species.

Now that hope is gone, and the last chance saloon is an expensive artificial breeding process.

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All hope is not lost though.

Credit: AMI VITALE/National Geographic Creative
Credit: AMI VITALE/National Geographic Creative

The conservancy said that Sudan "significantly contributed to survival of his species as he sired two females."

They continued: "His genetic material was collected yesterday and provides a hope for future attempts at reproduction of northern white rhinos through advanced cellular technologies."

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They said that the future of the rhinos "now lies in developing in-vitro fertilisation techniques using eggs from the two remaining females, stored northern white rhino semen from males and surrogate southern white rhino females."

It probably shouldn't have come to this though.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News, Kenya, Poaching, Animals, rhino, Dead

Tom Wood
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