Tanzania is an East African country known for its vast wilderness areas. They include the plains of Serengeti National Park, a safari mecca populated by the “big five” game (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino), and Kilimanjaro National Park, home to Africa’s highest mountain. Offshore lie the tropical islands of Zanzibar, with Arabic influences, and Mafia, with a marine park home to whale sharks and coral reefs.
World’s Last Northern White Rhino dies.
The Guardian Newspaper clip shows Sudan’s latter years:
It is a terrible tragedy to see that on 19th March 2018, there has come about the final extinction of a unique last great species of rhino in Africa.
‘Sudan’ The Last Male Northern White Rhino on the planet has died after having to be euthanised due to complications upon reaching 45 years of age.
His closest friend and armed guard who stood for years by his side; James Mwenda, dedicated his life to Sudan and had this to say:
“…my sadness and the essence of losing you is overcome by a contentment that I gave you all the best. Sudan I don’t regret anything as deep within my heart I gave you everything.
What I regret most, is whether my fellow humanity has learned from your existence. I tried as much to help them hear you through my thoughts and the lessons I learned through our personal day to day life, though still my voice has been small. I have testimonies that you have left an imprint in the hearts of many especially those I interacted with”.
Sudan lived his final years in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, which had become the last refuge for this majestic and powerful species. His death we hope will be a wake-up call to the nations who have clearly done so little to overcome the barbaric slaughter of Africa’s rhino and elephant populations whose horn is so highly valued on the black markets all the way to China for it’s supposed magic cure-all remedy properties.
James said: ‘Good bye Sudan, I don’t need to say it here that I loved you, you know it well from all the talks and the moments we had together being with you for the last few years completely changed me, and as you taught me daily I continued to teach and inspire my fellow humans to be conscious and sensitive of our environment. I promised to be your voice… but I did my best.’
Over the last 24 hours his condition worsened significantly, as did his suffering such that he was no longer able to stand up. The veterinary team from the Dvur Kralove Zoo, Ol Pejeta and Kenya Wildlife Service decided it was best to euthanize him on compassionate grounds.
Richard Vigne, Ol Pejeta’s CEO said, “He was a great ambassador for his species and will be remembered for the work he did to raise awareness globally of the plight facing not only rhinos, but also thousands of other species facing extinction as a result of unsustainable human activity. One day, his demise will hopefully be seen as a seminal moment for conservationists worldwide.”
In May 2017 the popular swipe left/right dating app Tinder, helped in the challenge to raise awareness of human-caused species extinction events when they partnered with conservationists to raise money for his ‘breeding campaign’. Comically Sudan’s bio read, ‘I don’t mean to be too forward but the fate of my species literally depends on me. I perform well under pressure. 6 ft and 5,000 lbs if it matters.’
In parallel with these more light-hearted attempts to raise awareness to prevent the demise of evermore rare species in Africa, scientists world-wide are now teaming together to attempt to use the latest artificial reproduction techniques (ARTs) of In Vitro fertilisation, ART’s to possibly bring this sub-species back to life. IZW Berlin and Avantea Cremona are partnering with the Kenyan Wildlife Service to attempt to safely remove eggs from the remaining Northern White rhino females and fertilise them with semen previously taken from the last males before they were all gone and to attempt to use Southern White rhino females as surrogates!
We here at Tontu, the safari community and the whole world I am sure really keep our fingers crossed that science could hold the key to returning these beautiful creatures to the Great Rift Valley of East Africa – Kenya where they have roamed for well over 10 million years!