World's last male Northern White Rhino dies - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

World's last male Northern White Rhino dies

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The world's last male Northern White Rhino, Sudan, has died after "age-related complications," researchers announced on Tuesday, saying he "stole the heart of many with his dignity and strength."

The 45-year-old rhino was euthanized on Monday after his condition "worsened significantly" and he was no longer able to stand. His muscles and bones had degenerated and his skin had extensive wounds.

The rhino had been part of an ambitious effort to save the subspecies from extinction with the help of the two surviving females.

Experts say the only hope for preserving the subspecies now lies in developing in vitro fertilization techniques using eggs from the two remaining females, stored northern white rhino semen from the males and surrogate southern white rhino females.

Northern white rhinos once roamed parts of Chad, Sudan, Uganda, Congo and Central African Republic, and were particularly vulnerable because of the armed conflicts that have swept the region over decades. Other rhinos, the Southern White Rhino and the Black Rhino, are under heavy pressure from poachers who kill them for their horns to supply illegal markets in parts of Asia.

Roughly 20,000 Southern White Rhinos remain in Africa. Their numbers dipped below 100 around a century ago, but an intense effort in the mid-20th century turned things around.

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