Imagine if you were among the last surviving members of your species and also the last male. Also imagine if due to your old age you had no way of furthering your lineage so there was nothing much you could do about it. Not to forget that all this is not your fault but due to the greed of men who see your one of your body parts as a source medicine and are therefore willing to kill you and your kind to extinction so as to feed their ignorance.
Well this is the life story of Sudan, the last surviving male of the Northern White Rhino species who at the moment is the #MostEligibleBachelor. Sudan’s life story started way back in 19th November 1973 when he was caught in a place called Shambe in present day South Sudan. He was then moved to a zoo in Czech Republic where he lived on display till he was moved in 2009 to his present day home at Ol Pejeta Conservancy together with two female companions. This was done after the realization that this species was almost going extinct due to excessive poaching in their natural habitat. As such there was a need to bring them back to their natural habitat to try and breed them so as to save the species.
An interesting fact about Sudan’s two female companions Najim and Fatu is that Najim is Sudan’s daughter and Fatu is Sudan’s granddaughter. So this makes the fight to save the Northern White Rhino pretty much a family affair. Other than Najim, Sudan also fathered another Rhino Nasima who sadly died back in 2015. When the three Rhinos were brought back into the wild they could not be able to fend for themselves so a Southern White Rhino was introduced to help them adjust.
Sadly even after all the effort the Rhinos are unable to breed due to a myriad of reasons. First and foremost Sudan though fertile is like 44 years old who in human years is about 90 years old and quite frankly and old man who just wants to eat, shit and chill. Also a rhino’s mating dance the male has to fight the female into submission which the mzee is no longer willing to take part in. Plus having stayed in a zoo for too long his hind legs became disfigured due to the concrete flooring hence even if he got the urge, mounting a female on those legs is a bit of challenge considering he is all of 5 tonnes.
The ladies that is Najim and Fatu also have their own issues. Najim also has an issue with her hind legs which has made them weak as such even if Sudan was to do his thing, she cannot be able to carry a pregnancy to term as she doesn’t believe in bed rest. Fatu on the other hand is in good shape but she has an issue with her ovaries making her unable to conceive. An ideal situation would have been a female rhino with Najims ovaries and Fatu’s body but sadly we don’t live in an ideal world.
The only conceivable solution that can help this majestic species to survive is the use of In Vitro Fertilisation. This is basically a process whereby eggs are harvested from ovaries of a female and then fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. The fertilized egg is the transferred to the uterus of the donor of the eggs or to another female who is then a surrogate. In this case what needs to be done is that eggs will be harvested from Najim and fertilized with sperm which has already been harvested from Sudan and other Northern White Rhinos that have in the past been in zoos. Because Najim cannot carry the pregnancy and Fatu is also unable to, a Southern White Rhino will be used as a surrogate. A Southern White Rhino is ideal because it has the same gestation period as a Northern on which is 17 to 18 months. This is unlike a Black Rhino which has a gestation of 15 to 16 months.
However, this procedure which has been done on domestic animals over the years has never been attempted on a Rhino. This has had the effect of making it expensive due to the research involved and as such to succeed this project needs upto USD 9 Million to save this species from extinction.
Lets join hands and contribute whatever we can to save this amazing species from extinction for the sake of future generations. You can do this by;
- Donating via Mpesa. Paybill Business No. 964550 (type the word “DONATION” in the account no. field)
- GoFundMe page