A male Northern white rhino is currently guarded around the clock to race against Poachers. Though he is physically like any other northern white rhino, the rhino who goes by the name “Sudan” is not just any rhino. Sudan has so far drawn the attention of many for being the last of its kind desperately being looked upon for the future of his specie. As he feeds under the sun, typically unaware of the fate which rests on his shoulder. After his species faced serious decimation by poachers, Sudan the rhino sees himself in a very risky position for being the last male northern white of his kind living on the planet.
For an animal on the point of extinction, the fate of the subspecies depends on his ability to bear offspring with the two female northern white rhinos at the conservancy. Fatu and Najin are the Sudan’s female companions, at the conservancy waiting to conceive with the last known male Rhino in the world. The animals are allegedly three of the last five remaining northern white rhinos in the world. Two other females live in captivity. The two female rhinos live at the conservancy, a place where experts are doing everything possible to make sure the subspecies does not go extinct.
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The animals are protected around the clock by armed guards in Kenya currently. Why? Because rhinos are targeted by poachers, and the situation is made even more intense by the belief in Asia that their horns heals different ailments. Experts say the rhino horn is becoming more lucrative than drugs. It fetches at least $75,000 per kilogram. Apart from placing the rhino under 24-hour security, the rhinos have radio transmitters placed on them by the conservancy and sends rangers whose identities are concealed into neighboring communities to elicit intelligence on poaching. Additionally, the conservancy is sourcing funds in order to get the armed guards who protect the rhinos better equipped and well-trained.
Though, there is hope that the last male rhino will have progeny someday, one of the officials at the conservancy doubts if this will happen with ease. Of course age is a factor to be considered here and according to him, the 42-year-old male rhino is elderly in rhino years. It may not be easy for him to naturally mount 15-year-old Fatu which is a young animal or 25-year-old Najin. Besides, he has a low sperm count which makes the situation even worse. Plus, Najin the second female Northern white rhino could produce progeny but her hind legs are so weak, she may be not be able to support a mounted male.
Another seeming impediment might be the fact that there has been records of mating between different pairs over the last few years, but no conception has ever been recorded. A recent health examination carried out on both animals, shows that the two animals have a regular estrus cycle, however no conception has been recorded.
And if one is not recorded any time soon, the unique and adorable animal will vanish off the earth.
There were more than 2,000 northern white rhinos in the world in 1960 based on the World Wide Fund for Nature. Poaching, greatly slashed number to 15 by 1984. Rhinos are not the ones at the risk of being hurt by Poachers, but also the rangers who guard the animals. Yes, their life is put on the line for securing Rhinos. This is because the horns of rhinos fetch good money resulting in the horn of the only surviving male rhino, Sudan been cut off already to discourage Poachers.
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To avoid the animal going extinct, international experts are thinking of using science to beat it. keeping in mind that the northern white rhino will not be able to mate with a black rhino, odds are it could mate with a southern white rhino. While southern white rhinos are not seriously at the risk of extinction as Ol Pejeta has 19 of them, but genetically, they are not the same subspecies with the northern white rhino. Experts believe that the offspring would obviously not be 100% northern white rhino if that should be the case, however it would be even better than nothing
The animals are expected to die off in the next decade, but if they are able to produce offspring there will be more of them roaming the earth in the nearest future.
A committee at the conservancy is also resorting to various alternative reproduction techniques, including In vitro fertilization.
Other countries have achieved success in carrying out embryo transfer in a different rhino species, and therefore as a technique, this can be assumed to be the most promising, according to the official. he also said that at the moment, consultations are ongoing amongst different reproductive technique experts on what should be done. We only hope that they come up with a workable idea so we don’t lose these animals. Of course we need to keep roaming this planet.