Mourning the Loss of Sudan

Posted: Mar 22

Earlier this week the world’s last male northern white rhino, Sudan, was put down at the age of 45 following serious health issues that meant he could no longer stand up.  His final resting place was Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy, to where he was moved in 2009 from the Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic, together with three other northern white rhino, in a concerted effort to save the subspecies. Sadly, it seems he was already too old to breed, and all hope now rests in IVF with Sudan’s daughter Najin, and his granddaughter Fatu.

While the southern white rhino population is estimated at 20,000, northern white rhinos were declared extinct in the wild in 2009. Having once ranged across several East and Central African countries, their final refuge was DR Congo’s Garamba National Park. In 2003 there were thought to be 32 individuals within the park. Sadly Garamba has suffered greatly from the civil conflict that continues to this day, and wildlife has been decimated by poaching, much of it carried out by deserters from the South Sudanese army, and terrorist groups, including the Lord’s Resistance Army. Aerial surveys in 2005 found just four individuals, and with a last sighting in 2006, it is thought they are almost certainly extinct. 

African Parks now manages Garamba National Park, and last year, though the Counter-Poaching Training Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa, Tusk helped provide specialist tracker training to their rangers, as well as support in information gathering and analysis, to help protect the important wildlife that remains. This includes 1,300 elephant and 47 critically endangered Kordofan giraffe.

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