Saturday 3 March 2018

Ceratotherium simum cottoni: Last surviving male Northern White Rhinoceros is ill.

The last surviving male Northern White Rhinoceros, Ceratotherium simum cottoni, a 45-year-old male called Sudan, has fallen ill, according to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, where he lives with the last two females of his subspecies, under 24 hour armed guard to protect them from potential poachers. He has developed an infection in his right hind leg, which is hampering his ability to move, and further reducing the chances of him mating successfully with either of the surviving females, which are his daughter and granddaughter. Park officials are concerned that his death may move the species closer to its (now apparently inevitable) extinction, but are reportedly willing to consider euthanasia if his condition becomes to distressing to him as they do not wish to see him suffer.

Sudan, the last surviving Northern White Rhino at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya in 2017. AP.

Northern White Rhinos formerly ranged across much of East and Central Africa, but were wiped out by poaching by 2008, when the last four surviving wild members of the species were officially declared to be dead when the could not be located despite extensive searches in the Garamba National Park and surrounding areas in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where they were last seen alive in 2006. The animals at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy are captive bred Rhinos that were transferred from the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, in the hope of re-introducing the species to the wild, though this now seems unlikely.

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