#ShockWildlifeTruths: World's last male northern white rhino on his last legs

2018-03-05 14:34 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - Sudan, the world's last remaining male white rhino, who even has his own tinder profile as a means to try and educate the world about the species' dire state, is said to be on his last legs. 

Ol Pejeta, the conservancy that has been trying to bring the sub-species back from the brink of extinction, posted to Facebook saying the 45-year-old male rhino was showing serious signs of ailing. 

"At the end of the 2017, Sudan developed an uncomfortable age related infection on his back right leg. It was immediately assessed by a team of vets from around the world, and responded well to treatment, healing quickly.

It was thought that he had resumed normal movement and foraging habits over January up to mid-February 2018, as his "demeanour and general activity improving significantly".

"Recently, a secondary and much deeper infection was discovered beneath the initial one. This has been treated, but worryingly, the infection is taking longer to recover, despite the best efforts of his team of vets who are giving him 24 hour care, with everything possible being done to help him regain his health.

The conservancy states they are "very concerned about Sudan.

"He's extremely old for a rhino and we do not want him to suffer unnecessarily.We will keep you updated on all developments. Please keep him in your thoughts."

According to an Instagram post by Ami Vitale, a Nikon Ambassador and National Geographic photographer, Sudan has done much to help "raise awareness for rhino conservation to millions worldwide."

Vitale says in 2009 she had the privilege of following this "gentle hulking creature" on his journey from the snowy Dvur Kralov zoo in the Czech Republic to the warm plains of Kenya, when he was transported with three of his fellow Northern White Rhinos in a last ditch effort to save the subspecies.

"The two female northern white rhinos left on the planet – Najin and Fatu – are his direct descendants. Research into new Assisted Reproductive Techniques for large mammals is underway due to him. The impact that this special animal has had on conservation is simply incredible." And there is still hope in the future that the subspecies might be restored through IVF."

"Today, we are witnessing the extinction of a species that had survived for millions of years but could not survive mankind."

Rhino conservation in SA

Since the alleged rhino war started a decade ago, more than 6 000 rhinos have been poached in South Africa. 2017 saw a small decrease in number of rhinos poached, with the total standing at 1 028, only 26 less than 2016. 

Besides rhino, 67 elephants were also poached in Kruger, and one in KZN. Measures have been put in place to target areas of high risk.

The public has been urged to report any suspicious activities around wildlife to the environmental crime hotline which is 0800 205 005 or the SAPS number 10111.