From dinosaurs to the Formosan clouded leopard, animals have been going extinct for hundreds of years and they might have to add another one to the list soon.
According to CNN, Sudan is the last known living male northern white rhino left in the entire world. He is being enclosed at a conservancy in Kenya. However, he has the opportunity to mate with the two female white rhinos that are also at the conservancy. They are under 24 hour protection by armed guards. The reason they are going extinct and need protection is because “Rhinos are targeted by poachers, fueled by the belief in Asia that their horns cure various ailments.”
Sudan is 42-years-old, while females, Fatu, is 15 and the other, Najin, is 25. However,
age might be a problem. Sudan is quite old, so he may not be able to mate, and his sperm count is low as well. Najin can conceive but her hind legs are weak so she may not be able to hold up Sudan while they mate. Both animals have a regular estrus cycle, which Google says is, “a recurring period of sexual receptivity and fertility in many female mammals.” There has been no conception yet, and if it doesn’t happen soon, the northern white rhino will go extinct.
There is a chance that Sudan could mate with a southern white rhino. It wouldn’t be a full northern white rhino but it would be better than nothing. A conservancy committee is
looking at alternative reproduction techniques such as vitro fertilization, where eggs are collected from the ovaries of the female and fertilized by sperm in a lab.
The need for the reproduction of this animal is urgent. They may go extinct in the next decade or so, but hopefully the conservancy will find a way to help Sudan mate before that happens. “A total of five remain in captivity worldwide: three in Kenya, and one each at zoos in San Diego and the Czech Republic.” When it comes down to it, there’s a lot of pressure on poor Sudan to keep his family in the world.