Photo Of The Last Northern White Rhino Goes Viral, Breaks The Internet's Heart

Luke Reavley/Shutterstock

"Want to know what extinction looks like?" asks Daniel Schneider. "This is the last male Northern White Rhino. The Last. Nevermore."

Schnieder, a "Biologist, Diver, Traveler, Observer, Humanist, Activist" according to his Twitter bio, posted the pic of Sudan the rhino on Monday. Since then it's racked up more than 40,000 likes and 40,000 retweets. 

Sudan is one of only three Northern White Rhinos left in the world. The other two are Najin, his 28-year-old daughter, and Fatu, his 17-year-old granddaughter.

The trio and Suni (a male Northern White Rhino who died in 2014 aged 34) were moved from the Czech Republic to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya in 2009, where it was hoped that an environment closer to their natural habitat would encourage the rhinos to breed. It was later discovered that neither Fatu or Najin are able to reproduce naturally and Sudan's sperm count is disappointingly low, the Conservancy website says.

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White rhinos can live to be 50 but their average age of death is 40. Sudan is already 43, meaning time is running out for him and for his species. So, in April of this year, Sudan joined Tinder

His profile read: "I’m one of a kind. No seriously, I’m the last male white rhino on the planet earth. I don’t mean to be 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. 6ft tall and 5,000 lbs if it matters."

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Image via Imgur

Of course, it was a publicity stunt. The researchers hoped to raise $9 million to fund in vitro fertilization treatment using sperm from Sudan and eggs from either Fatu or Najin.  

Poaching may have condemned Sudan's species to extinction but elsewhere in Africa, conservation efforts to protect the Southern White Rhino has been a huge success. Driven to near extinction by colonial poachers, their numbers have increased from less than 100 in 1895 to around 20,000 in 2017, making them the only rhino species to not be listed as endangered. 

As for the Northern White Rhinos, there is still hope. Conservationists at Ol Pejeta Conservancy hope to raise $1 million for fertilization techniques with a GoFundMe campaign called  ‘Make a Rhino’.

 

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