The Death Of The Last Male Northern White Rhino Is A Symptom Of A Global Extinction Crisis Conservationists Warn

Posted on May 28th 2018

WWF Worried By Rhino Poaching

Conservationists are warning that the death of the last male Northern white rhino should serve to remind us that we need to act in order to prevent mass extinctions of species all over the world. The death of Sudan the last male Northern rhino in Kenya is a signal that human activity has simply become unsustainable and is responsible for an era of mass extinctions globally.

Rhino had to be put down

Sudan the rhino unfortunately had to be put down because he was suffering from a degenerative disease that was causing so much pain, that death was simply much more humane. His death means there are only two female Northern white rhinos left. Sudan’s daughter and granddaughter are still alive and conservationists are hopeful the species may be saved the species from extinction using IVF.

Part of a much wider problem

WWF’s Colin Butfield says the death of Sudan who served as a powerful symbol was a profound tragedy and shows us that there is a much wider crisis we must contend with. According to Mr Butfield there is without question a huge extinction crisis and this death is just one small part of that. Since 1970 the number of vertebrate species has declined by more than 50 per cent and every year about 10,000 less well-known species are becoming extinct.

People are angry

Paula Kahumbu of Wildlife Direct says the death of Sudan has hit the people of Kenya hard. There was an intense outpouring of grief and he hopes that Sudan’s death will serve to remind us that we should not allow this to happen again. Mr Kahumbu says people are extremely angry. Not enough was done to prevent the species from arriving at the brink of extinction. The same thing could happen to other species such as cheetahs, elephants, black rhinos and giraffes. He adds that it is important that Africans take ownership of this issue and educate the people.

The global rhino population has fallen dramatically

At the beginning of the last century there were an estimated half million rhinos roaming throughout Africa and Asia. Habitat loss and poaching has meant that figure fell to 70,000 by 1970. The Northern white rhino was just one of several subspecies that have seen themselves being pushed to the brink of extinction. Sudan who was 45 somehow managed to survive. He had been moved to a zoo in the Czech Republic during the 70’s and later returned to Africa. The veterinary team that had been taking care of him took the decision to euthanise him after his condition deteriorated and left him with intolerable skin wounds. Sudan was not able to stand and you could see him visibly suffering.


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