The final photograph of Sudan, the Northern White Rhino who sadly passed away on March 20, 2018, shows him being comforted in his last moments.
Heartbreaking scenes were captured on camera by a National Geographic photographer, as wildlife ranger Zacharia Mutai said goodbye to Sudan, the last the last male northern white rhino on earth.
Sudan died shortly after the photograph was taken on the Ol Peteja wildlife reserve:
Sudan, the last male white rhino on Earth, passed away yesterday at his home in Kenya. Photographer @amivitale was there after covering Sudan for many years. Vitale – "With a heavy heart, I share this news and hope that Sudan's legacy will awaken us to protect this magnificent and fragile planet. Yesterday, Zachariah Mutai comforted Sudan, the last living male Northern White Rhino moments before he passed away. Sudan lived a long, healthy life at the conservancy after he was brought to Kenya from @safari_park_dvur_kralov in the #czechrepublic in 2009. He died surrounded by people who loved him at @olpejeta after suffering from age-related complications. The two female northern white rhinos left on the planet are his direct descendants. 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. Support this important work: http://donate.olpejetaconservancy.org/projects/sudan"
The rhino, named Sudan, was suffering from a degenerative muscle and bone condition linked to age, when keepers found he was unable to stand up and made the decision to euthanise him on Monday.
Photographer, Ami Vitale was present at his sad passing and wrote on Instagram:
With a heavy heart, I share this news and hope that Sudan’s legacy will awaken us to protect this magnificent and fragile planet.
Yesterday, Zachariah Mutai comforted Sudan, the last living male Northern White Rhino moments before he passed away.
The 45-year-old was one of just three remaining northern white rhinos. He was the last male of his species. The two female northern white rhinos left on the planet are his direct descendants.
Vitale praised ‘the impact that this special animal has had on conservation’ as ‘simply incredible’. Sudan was euthanised by vets after falling ill and being unable to stand. It’s being put down to age-related complications.
Back in 1960, there were more than 2,000 of his kind in the world but poaching drove the species to the brink of extinction meaning by 1984, there were just 15 left.
Protected by armed guards, John Mugo and Daniel Maina, at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia County, Kenya, Sudan lived with the last two surviving females, Najin and Fatu, but attempts to mate him with them failed.
Both females sadly suffer from conditions which make them incapable of pregnancy.
After the organisation discovered this, last year, they created an account for Sudan on the dating app Tinder, with aims to help fund the development of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) for rhinos.
As reported by National Geographic, his bio read:
I’m one of a kind. No seriously. I’m the last male white rhino on planet Earth. I don’t mean to be too forward, but the fate of my species literally depends on me.
I perform well under pressure. I like to eat grass and chill in the mud. No problems. Six foot tall and 5,000 pounds if it matters.
There is still hope in the future the subspecies might be restored through IVF.
After all, Mother Nature and the wildlife within are deserving of our care:
Your legacy lives on.