Sudan, the last male northern white rhino on Earth, dies at 45

March 20, 2018, 9:06 a.m.

This older gentleman was a celebrity figure for his species, but for an unfortunate reason. His name was Sudan, and he was the very last male northern white rhino in the world. He resided at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya with armed guards protecting him 24/7.

And unfortunately, Sudan's health has not been robust. In late 2017, he developed an age-related infection in one of his hind leg, which was treated. The infection cleared, and he was back to normal health by January. However in recent weeks, a second and deeper infection was discovered on the same leg. This new infection was treated but it was not quick to heal. Sudan was unable to walk anymore and was suffering immensely. Therefore, his veterinary team decided to euthanize him.

Last hope for the species

The conservancy says the only hope now is in-vitro fertilization "using eggs from the two remaining females, stored northern white rhino semen from males and surrogate southern white rhino females."

The two remaining females are Sudan's daughter and granddaughter — Najin and Fatu.

In 2017, Sudan became famous for joining Tinder at the age of 43 in a last-ditch effort to find a mate.

Obstacles such as old age and low fertility keep the rhinos from procreating naturally.

The Tinder profile was a way to raise publicity and funding for in-vitro fertilization, which is the only possible way to breed the last members of the species due to age and health concerns. But if IVF procedures work, then conservationists could potentially bring back northern white rhinos to the wild in a matter of decades. Unfortunately, it's a very, very big "if."

Editor's note: This article has been updated since it was originally published in August 2017.