The world’s last surviving male northern white rhino has died after months of poor health, his carers said.
Sudan, 45, lived at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. He was put to sleep on Monday after age-related complications worsened significantly.
His death leaves only two females – his daughter and granddaughter – of the subspecies alive in the world.
Why is this kind of rhino so rare?
Rhinoceroses – of which there are five species – are the second-largest land mammal after elephants. The white rhinoceros consists of two sub-species: the southern white rhino and the much rarer and critically endangered northern white rhino.
Sudan, who was the equivalent of 90 in human years, was the last surviving male of the rarer variety after the natural death of a second male in late 2014.
The subspecies’ population in Uganda, Central African Republic, Sudan and Chad was largely wiped out during the poaching crisis of the 1970s and 1980s. Poaching was fuelled by demand for rhino horn for use in traditional Chinese medicine, and for dagger handles in Yemen.
The last few dozen wild northern white rhinos in the Democratic Republic of Congo had been killed by the early 2000s.
By 2008, the northern white rhino was considered extinct in the wild, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).