Sudan, the world’s last male Northern White Rhino passed away on March 19, 2018, having lost the fight to an infection in his leg, and degenerative changes in his muscles and bones, combined with extensive skin wounds. In his final 24 hours Sudan was suffering a great deal and unable to stand. His veterinary care team from the Dvůr Králové Zoo, Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Kenya Wildlife Service made the decision to euthanize him.
Sudan leaves behind his daughter Najin and his granddaughter Fatu, the world’s last two remaining Northern white rhinos, a species that once exceeded 40,000. Like Sudan, Najin and Fatu are cared for 24-hours a day in the secure Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
Prior to returning to Kenya in 2009, Sudan had lived at the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, where a Zoo official commented, "His death is a cruel symbol of human disregard for nature and it saddened everyone who knew him”.
Northern white rhinos are one of five rhinoceros species, of which the white species is one, with two sub-species, the Southern white and the exceptionally rare Northern white. How can it be that a species which once exceeded 40,000 is now down to two, and facing imminent extinction?
The answer lies in poaching and the false beliefs of the medicinal benefits of rhino horns, which are worth more than their weight in gold. The main compound of rhino horns, keratin, is in fact exactly the same as that found in human finger nails and hair. The Northern white has been hunted and poached until there are just two remaining. Currently over 1,300 rhinos are slaughtered annually for their horns.
As the world says goodbye to Sudan, and contemplates how humans could have caused the extinction of an entire species of wildlife, we ask you to help us commemorate his life by visiting The Last Three sculpture here at Astor Place.
The sculpture created by Gillie & Marc at Astor Place, depicts Sudan, Najim and Fatu. Cast from bronze, standing at over 19 feet tall and weighing 8 tons, Gillie and Marc intend for their sculpture to be a platform to raise critical awareness, and the funds needed to protect the northern white rhinos, while also gathering one-million goodbye messages and signatures for their petition.
You can help drive change by signing the petition here, which will be used to approach Chinese and Vietnamese governments to encourage them to eliminate the demand for rhino horns.