The world’s last male northern white rhino has died in Kenya, leaving only two females of its subspecies alive in the world.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy said the rhino, named Sudan, was euthanised on Monday, aged 45, after being treated for “age-related complications” that had affected his muscles and bones, and given him extensive skin wounds.
“His condition worsened significantly in the last 24 hours; he was unable to stand up and was suffering a great deal,” the conservancy said.
Ol Pejeta’s CEO Richard Vigne paid homage to the rhino, whose death he said would "hopefully be seen as a seminal moment for conservationists world wide.”
“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,” he said.
Only two females of the sub-species now remain — Sudan's daughter Najin and Najin's daughter Fatu.
Ol Pejeta noted that a copy of Sudan’s genetic material was taken on the day of his death, providing hope for future efforts to bring the species back from the brink of extinction through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques.
Sudan had previously lived at the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic before being transported to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in 2009.
In 2017, conservationists put Sudan on dating app Tinder as "The Most Eligible Bachelor in the World", in hopes of raising enough money for a fertility treatment after attempts at getting him to mate naturally failed.
Jan Stejskal, director of international projects at Dvur Kralove Zoo, described Sudan's death as "a cruel symbol of human disregard for nature."