The world’s last northern white rhino died on Monday after months of poor health in Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
Sudan, the 45-year-old northern white rhino took his last breath after age-related complications aggravated.
"Once his condition worsened significantly and he was unable to stand up and evidently, suffered a great deal, the decision to euthanise him was made by his veterinary team,” said Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
With Sudan’s death, the earth is now left with only two females – his daughter Najin (born in 1989), and granddaughter Fatu (born in 2000) – of the northern white rhinoceros subspecies alive.
The last hope for the preservation of the subspecies now lies in developing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques using eggs from the two remaining females and stored male northern white rhino semen.
In a bid to attempt the reproduction of northern white rhinos through advanced cellular technologies, Sudan’s genetic materials were collected before he was put to sleep.
“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 Richard Vigne, Ol Pejeta’s CEO.
“One day, his demise will hopefully be seen as a seminal moment for conservationists worldwide,” Vigne added.