Almost the end for Kenya's northern white rhino

Extinction Watch: When the Last of a Species Falls Ill

Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino, has an infection. Conservationists hold their breath.

The world&#39;s last male northern white rhinoceros has fallen ill, conservationists announced Thursday. Sudan, who has been living in captivity for 35 of his 45 years, survived an infection on his leg in 2017, but a more serious infection was recently identified. (Pictured: Sudan in 2015) TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images The world's last male northern white rhinoceros has fallen ill, conservationists announced Thursday. Sudan, who has been living in captivity for 35 of his 45 years, survived an infection on his leg in 2017, but a more serious infection was recently identified. (Pictured: Sudan in 2015) According to a statement from Kenya&#39;s <a href="https://www.olpejetaconservancy.org/northern-white-rhino-update-sudans-health-declining/" target="_blank">Ol Pejeta Conservancy</a>, where Sudan has lived since 2009, &quot;At the advanced age of 45, his health has begun deteriorating, and his future is not looking bright.&quot; TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images According to a statement from Kenya's Ol Pejeta Conservancy, where Sudan has lived since 2009, "At the advanced age of 45, his health has begun deteriorating, and his future is not looking bright." Sudan gained fame when the <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/worlds-last-white-rhino-male-sudan-joins-tinder-to-save-species/" target="_blank">Conservancy partnered with the dating app Tinder</a> to raise awareness and funds, dubbing Sudan &quot;The Most Eligible Bachelor.&quot; <br><br>&quot;6 ft tall and 5,000 lbs if it matters,&quot; listed his profile. <br><br>While the effort raised much-needed funds to pay for Sudan&#39;s care, including 24/7 armed security, it did not help him find a mate. The Washington Post/Getty Images Sudan gained fame when the Conservancy partnered with the dating app Tinder to raise awareness and funds, dubbing Sudan "The Most Eligible Bachelor."

"6 ft tall and 5,000 lbs if it matters," listed his profile.

While the effort raised much-needed funds to pay for Sudan's care, including 24/7 armed security, it did not help him find a mate.
Although Sudan lives with the only two remaining female northern white rhinos in the world, Najin and Fatu (pictured here in 2010), scientists declared both unable to breed naturally. Conservators have been looking into alternative reproduction methods, including in vitro fertilization; as a last ditch effort to preserve some of the northern white rhino&#39;s genes, they&#39;ve considered breeding Sudan with a different but similar species of rhino. Barcroft/Barcroft Media via Getty Images Although Sudan lives with the only two remaining female northern white rhinos in the world, Najin and Fatu (pictured here in 2010), scientists declared both unable to breed naturally. Conservators have been looking into alternative reproduction methods, including in vitro fertilization; as a last ditch effort to preserve some of the northern white rhino's genes, they've considered breeding Sudan with a different but similar species of rhino. &quot;This is a distinct lineage of white rhino,&quot; <a href="http://institute.sandiegozoo.org/barbara-durrant-phd" target="_blank">Barbara Durrant</a>, the director of reproductive sciences at San Diego Zoo Global, <a href="http://www.latimes.com/world/africa/la-fg-kenya-northern-white-rhino-20180301-story.html" target="_blank">told the Los Angeles Times</a>. &quot;The loss of a population, especially of a mega vertebrae like a rhino … is a significant loss in terms of genetic diversity.&quot; (Pictured: Sudan and Najin stroll in Kenya&#39;s Ol Pejeta Conservancy in 2010) Barcroft/Barcroft Media via Getty Images "This is a distinct lineage of white rhino," Barbara Durrant, the director of reproductive sciences at San Diego Zoo Global, told the Los Angeles Times. "The loss of a population, especially of a mega vertebrae like a rhino … is a significant loss in terms of genetic diversity." (Pictured: Sudan and Najin stroll in Kenya's Ol Pejeta Conservancy in 2010) The northern white rhino is far from alone in its vulnerability. Every species of rhino is now threatened, and poaching poses the greatest threat by far: In east Asia, rhino horns are believed to cure illnesses, making the poaching trade extremely lucrative. In these photos, the horns were cut by conservators; removing the horns prevents injuries as the rhinos are re-introduced to each other. (Pictured: Armed guards at Ol Pejeta, protect Sudan, Najin and Fatu in 2015.) Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media via Getty Images The northern white rhino is far from alone in its vulnerability. Every species of rhino is now threatened, and poaching poses the greatest threat by far: In east Asia, rhino horns are believed to cure illnesses, making the poaching trade extremely lucrative. In these photos, the horns were cut by conservators; removing the horns prevents injuries as the rhinos are re-introduced to each other. (Pictured: Armed guards at Ol Pejeta, protect Sudan, Najin and Fatu in 2015.) And while guards armed with automatic weapons can protect these particular rhinos from poachers, they can&#39;t protect them against aging. Now the preservation of the species has turned into a race against time. The Washington Post/Getty Images And while guards armed with automatic weapons can protect these particular rhinos from poachers, they can't protect them against aging. Now the preservation of the species has turned into a race against time.