Northern white rhinos used to roam central Africa, with an estimated population of 2,000 in 1960, according to the World Wildlife Fund. But conflict and poaching have driven the subspecies to the brink of extinction in the wild. Sudan’s death leaves only two northern white rhinos in the world, his daughter Najin, 27, and granddaughter Fatu, 17, who remain at the Ol Pejeta reserve. Though the females were unable to conceive naturally, efforts to save the subspecies have not come to an end. Last year, Ol Pejeta created a Tinder profile for Sudan in an attempt to draw attention to the species’ plight and raise $9 million to fund an experimental in-vitro fertilization procedure, Reuters reported. The plan would see eggs from the remaining females inseminated with sperm samples from now-deceased males before being implanted in a surrogate female southern white rhino, a related subspecies that still numbers an estimated 20,000, according to WildAid. “We at Ol Pejeta are all saddened by Sudan’s death. He was an amazing rhino, 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 Ol Pejeta Conservancy CEO Richard Vigne. “One day, his demise will hopefully be seen as a seminal moment for conservationists worldwide.”
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WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect wildlife from illegal trade and other imminent threats. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid primarily works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin soup. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid leverages more than $308 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.
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