The white rhinoceros is on the verge of extinction. What is even more unfortunate is that the two surviving female rhinos are both direct descendants of “Sudan”, and the severely inbred population has almost no long-term possibility of natural continuation.
On March 20, 2018, the last male northern white rhino died. This northern white rhinoceros, named “Sudan”, was born in 1973 in Chambé Park (located in today’s South Sudan) and was captured. He spent his entire life in captivity. To prevent poaching, it spent its later years under armed guard. At 45 years old, it has reached the extreme age of this species, its muscles are constantly degenerating, and its body is covered with wounds that cannot be healed. In the last month of his life, he was unable to stand up normally and the breeders decided to euthanize him.
In 1973, when it was born, there were still 1,000 of its kind on the planet; but now there are only two left, both females, and both are its offspring – a daughter and a granddaughter. Following the extinction of the western black rhino in 2011, the northern white rhino is about to become the second rhino subspecies to be wiped out by poaching.
“Sudan” is the last male northern white rhinoceros capable of reproducing in the world. Now the possibility of natural reproduction and maintaining the race has disappeared forever. Researchers have preserved its sperm and tissue samples, but there has been no harvest from artificial breeding over the years, and it is unlikely that there will be any improvement in a short time.
What is even more unfortunate is that the two surviving female rhinoceros are both direct descendants of Sudan, and the severely inbred population has almost no long-term possibility of natural continuation.
Sudan, named after the country where he was born, was brought to Kenya from a Czech zoo in 2009.