The world’s last remaining male northern white rhinoceros died at Kenyan conservation facility Ol Pejeta this week. The 45-year-old rhino (named Sudan) was euthanized to end his suffering from muscle and bone degeneration and skin wounds related to his old age, leaving his daughter and granddaughter as the only surviving white Northern rhinos—a subspecies that was nearly eliminated by poachers in Africa during the 1970s and 1980s, who used the animals’ horns to make weapons and for Chinese medicine. Sudan lived in captivity until 2009 at the Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic and was transferred to Ol Pejeta Conservatory in Kenya to encourage breeding in a more natural habitat, which did not prove successful. Scientists “collected” Sudan’s genetic materials post-mortem and hope to inseminate the remaining females to keep the subspecies from extinction. Earlier this month, the Trump administration lifted an Obama-era ban that prohibited the import of “big-game trophies,” allowing hunters to kill animals such as rhinoceroses and elephants in areas of Africa for sport.
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