Last male Northern White Rhino died

‘Sudan’ was one of the last three Northern White Rhinos left in the world; seen here in Kenya under strict protection from poaching.

Sudan’, the last male Northern White Rhino, died on 19 March in Kenya after suffering ailments due to old age; he was 45.  With his death, there are only two other individuals from this subspecies left – ‘Najin’ and ‘Fatu’ – both females.  That means extinction for the majestic Northern White Rhino is only two deaths away.

Because of their great vulnerability to poaching, the remaining Northern White Rhinos have been under 24-hour armed protection for the past few decades.  Of course, there can be no protection at all from ageing and natural death.

Rhino horn consists of keratin, similar to human hair and nails.  It has no medicinal properties at all.

Rhinoceros have roamed the earth for hundreds of thousands of years.  Yet in modern times, they have been relentlessly hunted with firearms for their horns, which are used as traditional medicine in Vietnam and China, and as dagger handles in Yemen and Oman.

A typical traditional medicine shop in Vietnam; these shops are outlets for rhino-horn products.

All rhino species are critically endangered or at least highly vulnerable to extinction.  We can help to conserve the remaining species by not buying any rhino horn products – even as medicine – because they are found to have no medicinal properties at all.

File photograph of ‘Sudan’ grazing in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, 2010.

Let us be aware of our responsibility as humans – the dominant species on earth – to protect the survival of other species.  We should live with moderation and contentment, and not lay waste to vast tracks of earth with our careless consumption and exploitation of earth’s precious resources.  Let us leave enough room for other beings to survive without further pressure from us.

May you rest in Peace, ‘Sudan’.