The Death of Sudan and the Extinction of His Species


And then there were two... Only two northern white rhinoceroses are left on this earth, Najin and Fatu, the daughter and granddaughter of Sudan.

Sudan was the last male of his kind. He was euthanized at 45 years-old after a debilitating battle with infection. Although born in the wild, his last days were spent at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, where he was a popular tourist attraction.

Rhinos, a symbol of strength, have long faced extinction due to the majesty of their horns. Some believe rhino horn can cure cancer. Others use it for weaponry. Salvador Dali had a slight obsession with them. "Rhinos are the only four-legged animals that don’t walk backwards," Mark Ecko once said of his fashion label's logo. "Rhinos are survivors."

And yet, an entire subspecies of rhinoceros is so drearily facing extinction -- symbolic of the deeply interconnected flow of urbanization and human sustainability.

"Through the current economic system and globalisation we are taking up more of the earth’s resources and living space than it can accommodate," University of Essex Professor Ted Benton said, according to The Guardian. This is not just a threat to other species this is a threat directly to our survival as humans too."


Scientists are considering using IVF (in vitro fertilization) to impregnate a southern white rhino, in expectation that we can manufacture a new ending like life is one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books.

However, "The fact that this is in the news suggests there is a wider cultural feeling of regret and care about this from so many people who have never seen – and probably never expect to see – a white rhino, and that is heartening in that it shows that people care," Benton said.

"He was a great ambassador for his species and will be remembered for the work he did to raise awareness ... of the plight facing not only rhinos but also the many thousands of other species facing extinction as a result of unsustainable human activity,"  Ol Pejeta CEO Richard Vigne said, according to Al Jazeera

Sudan was listed as "The Most Eligible Bachelor in the World" on Tinder, in an effort to pay for a $9 million fertility treatment before his passing.

"We are aware of it, we know what causes it and to some extent we know what the solutions are," said Colin Butfield campaigns director at the World Wildlife Federation. "Now it is a matter of acting on that knowledge before it is too late."


photo by Make it Kenya