Sudan, the last white male northern rhino in the world, has died aged 45 at Ol Pajeta Conservancy in Kenya’s Laikipia County.
The rhino has been suffering from age-related complications that led to degenerative changes in muscles and bones combined with extensive skin wounds.
The conservancy on Tuesday said Sudan was put to sleep on Monday after his condition deteriorated.
“His condition worsened significantly in the last 24 hours; he was unable to stand up and was suffering a great deal,” Dvůr Králové Zoo, Ol Pejeta said in a statement.
“The veterinary team from the Dvůr Králové Zoo, Ol Pejeta and Kenya Wildlife Service made the decision to euthanise him.”
Richard Vigne, Ol Pejeta’s CEO, said Sudan;s death was a major blow to global conservation efforts, especially those aimed at saving endangered species.
“We at Ol Pajeta are all saddened by Sudan’s death,” said Richard Vigne, Ol Pejeta’s CEO.
“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 the many 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.”
The rhino was dubbed the most eligible bachelor, being the last male of his species.
His bachelor status saw him join dating app Tinder in an effort to raise funds to save the northern white rhino.
With only two other females of his species left, the death of Sudan inches towards the extinction of the northern white rhinos.
The last two northern white Rhinos on the planet are Sudan’s daughter Najin and her daughter Fatu, who remain under the care of Ol Pejeta.
Conservationists’ and scientists’ only hope towards saving the species is through vitro fertilisation (IVF) technology using eggs from the two remaining females, stored northern white rhino semen and surrogate southern white rhino females.
Sudan’s genetic material was collected on Monday for future attempts at reproduction of northern white rhinos through advanced cellular technologies.
Efforts to save the species started in 2009 when the last four of the species, two males and two females, were moved to Ol Pejeta from Czech Republic.
Despite mating, the rhinos could not reproduce.
Conservationists have since been looking for alternative scientific methods to save the species.