The plight of Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, has gone viral following a photo which was posted online to demonstrate the meaning of extinction, The Telegraph reported on November 9, 2017
The plight of Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, has gone viral following a photo which was posted online to demonstrate the meaning of extinction, The Telegraph reported on November 9, 2017.
The photo on Twitter shows Sudan lying on the floor of his enclosure, in Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy, with a morose-looking expression.
It has captured global attention in its pictorial summary of the reality of poaching.
Sudan is the last surviving male of the northern white rhino species, which was formerly native to several countries in east and central Africa south of the Sahara and is now categorised as `critically endangered’, or `extinct in the wild’.
In 2009 he was shipped with three other rhinos, including the last two females of the species, from a zoo in the Czech Republic to Kenya, in the hope that being on African soil would encourage them to breed.
However, they have failed to breed and Sudan is now too old to reproduce.
Scientists are now working to develop IVF techniques that may keep their lineage alive, and so save the species from extinction.
Daniel Schneider, a biologist from Boston who frequently garners publicity for endangered species, tweeted the image and saw it retweeted over 39,000 times.
Sudan has appeared on television before, featuring in a BBC documentary broadcast in June, 2017 called `Sudan: the Last of the Rhinos’, and on Tinder a few months prior to raise money for more research on assisted reproductive techniques to save his species.
The northern white rhino species was wiped out in the wild by hunters, poachers and wars that extended across their natural habitat of Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Central African Republic and northern Uganda.
Many countries in Africa are part of the Commonwealth, which takes a strong stance against the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT).
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office recently launched the 2018 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in October, 2017 to extend the efforts of governments and non-governmental organisations in stamping out wildlife crime.
IWT is the fourth most lucrative illicit activity in the world and stems from poverty and the misinformation of animal product uses.
For example, in Vietnam, the recent myth that rhino horn can cure cancer has led to an unprecedented increase in poaching in South Africa, of 7,700% between 2007 and 2013.
The threat of poaching in Africa is such that Sudan and his two female companions live under armed guard in the Kenyan conservancy.
Read More: The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office officially launched the London 2018 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference on October 30, 2017, where it will work with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and affected countries to stamp out wildlife crime