The northern white rhino is a subspecies, one of two subspecies, of the white rhinoceros. Originally, it could’ve been found in several East and Central African countries south of the Sahara, grazing on grasslands and savanna woodlands. They are separated from their relatives by having hairier ears, different dental structure, and smaller bodies.
As of yesterday, March 19, 2018, there are only two female rhinos of this subspecies left in the world, as the last male, Sudan, has died.
Sudan lived at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya and was 45 years old, which is considered old age for rhinos. Sudan had health complications and was necessary to be humanely euthanized at the conservatory. Now, after his death, this subspecies depends on his daughter Najin, and granddaughter Fatu and the hand of science. Scientists are hoping to make a successful artificial insemination from frozen sperm and hopefully to save this subspecies of rhinoceros. The problem is that neither of both females can carry a pregnancy to term. The scientists plan is to extract eggs from them, fertilize them with frozen sperm from white rhino donors that are not related to them and implant the embryos in surrogate southern white rhino females.
In the 1960s, the number of these rhinos in the wild was estimated to be around 2000. Thanks to war, loss of habitat and the poachers for the rhino’s horn, the numbers have declined so much that in 2008 researchers could no longer find white rhinos in the wild.
Humankind must stop and think about the devastating damage it’s doing to this planet!
– video credit “The New York Times”