Just two female white rhinos left in existence as memorial is held for Sudan, the last of the males, whose death means extinction is almost certain
Its A sad sad day on this planet we call Earth
- Rhino Sudan, 45, died last month after suffering from a degenerative muscle and bone condition linked to age
- He is survived by the last two females of his species, daughter Najin, 27, and 17-year-old granddaughter Fatu
- The mourning pair were pictured looking sad when they attended a memorial service for Sudan on Saturday
- Sudan’s death has led Kenya to declare anyone caught possessing ivory should be sentenced to life in prison
The last two northern white rhinos on Earth appeared mournful during a memorial held for the final male of their kind as the species stands on the brink of extinction.
Sudan, 45, died last month after suffering from a degenerative muscle and bone condition linked to age which left him unable to stand up.
Sudan’s demise should spell the end of his subspecies, but scientists have gathered genetic material and hope to develop IVF techniques to produce more white rhinos.
He is survived by the last two females of his species, his 27-year-old daughter Najin and 17-year-old granddaughter Fatu.
The pair appeared sad when they attended a memorial service for Sudan, whose death has led a Kenyan government official to declare anyone caught possessing ivory should be sentenced to life in prison.
‘Ivory belongs to elephants and rhinos,’ said Najib Balala, Kenya’s tourism minister, during a memorial service held at Ol Pejeta Conservancy on Saturday for Sudan.
Wildlife officials at Ol Pejeta, about 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of Nairobi, put down the rhino on March 19 because of rapid deterioration in his health.
The only hope for preserving their species is through in vitro fertilisation using their eggs and stored semen, according to Ol Pejeta.
Thousand of southern white rhinos still roam sub-Saharan Africa, but decades of rampant poaching have drastically cut the number of northern whites.
Poachers could sell northern white rhino horns for $50,000 per kilo, making them more valuable than gold.
Kenya had 20,000 rhinos in the 1970s, falling to 400 in the 1990s. It now has 650, almost all of them black rhinos.