Max Bearak, The Washington Post •. He was one of only three northern white rhinos left on Earth and the last male of his subspecies.
And now the last male has died.
Sudan's death "is a cruel symbol of human disregard for nature and it saddened everyone who knew him".
"One day", he adds, "his demise will hopefully be seen as a seminal moment for conservationists world wide".
Ironically, Sudan's death comes as hundreds of scientists and government envoys gather in Colombia at a biodiversity crisis summit for a global appraisal of mass species extinction. Although heartbreaking to let the last male of a species pass on, after discovering that he was no longer able to stand his handlers made the hard decision on Monday to euthanize the white rhino. "While prices of rhino horn are falling in China and Vietnam, poaching for horn still threatens all rhino species", said Peter Knights, CEO of environmental organization WildAid. Because of poaching, 100 years ago there were fewer than 100 southern white rhinos left in the world.
"It will take many years to have a substantial population of northern white rhinos, and you can't predict what Central Africa will be like in 10 years". He was taken to a zoo in the Czech Republic and then transferred to Kenya in 2009. At that time, when Sudan was just 3 years old, the extinction of his species did not seem imminent. It was thought that the African climate and having more room to roam would stimulate the rhinos to breed. The last 20 that remained in the Garamba national Park in the DRC were killed in the war that gripped the country until the early 2000s. He was later euthanized by the team after he suffered extensively in his last 24 hours. His horn had been chopped off to deter poachers, though it had begun to grow back. Bands of volunteer anti-animal poaching guards have also spread across Africa. But the effort to save the northern white rhino seems to have come too late for a real turnaround.
The Frozen Zoo - which is housed inside the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research just up the road from the Safari Park outside Escondido - is a collection of more than 10,000 living cell cultures, sperm and other genetic materials representing almost 1,000 species and subspecies. The two forms of white rhino are subtly different - the northern form of the species is smaller, with different dental structure and shaggier ears and tail than its southern counterpart, and some scientists have even argued that they should be classified as different species, based on their genetic and morphological differences.
"But we should not give up".