Extinction On The Rise For White Rhino Species

By Kaitlin Armstong

Staff Writer

Sudan, a 45-year-old northern white rhino who had been in poor health recently, was euthanized after he had deteriorated drastically.

Sudan resided in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, and he was surrounded by armed guards in the days leading up to his death to protect him from poachers. He was described by Eloise Sampere, a representative for Ol Pejeta, as a gentle giant with an amazing personality.

“It’s extremely sad that we are about to lose another species of rhino,” said Tara Lunsford, sophomore. “Hopefully the researchers are successful with artificially inseminating the two females left with Sudan’s genetic material.”

Rhinos are targeted specifically by poachers because of the value of their horn. This is because of the belief in Asia, specifically, that their horns have the cure for various ailments. This has been proven to be largely false, yet the rhino horn continues to be used more for drugs than any other purpose.

“The rhino’s life is not worth a few thousand dollars for their horn,” said Kasey Swartley, senior. “Rhino’s keep decreasing at a rapid pace and there needs to be more done to stop these poachers from killing these gentle giants.”

According to CNN, around the clock security at the Conservancy is not the only form of protection that has been implemented to keep the poachers away. Radio transmitters on the animals and rangers in disguise go into communities nearby to gather information on poaching.

In his final years, Sudan struggled to procreate due to a low sperm count and weak body. He does have a daughter who is 28 but also has a weak body, so mating would be difficult for her to have children of her own.

Most people may know about Sudan because of the infamous Tinder account that was created to help raise funds to save the subspecies. His title on the app described him as the most eligible bachelor in the world.

“I thought that the tinder profile was a really cute idea and a great way to raise awareness about what is happening to this subspecies,” said Megan Selfridge, junior. “I hope that the Tinder account was very successful and that they were able to raise a lot of money and awareness to save the white rhino.”

The white rhino is one of many rhino subspecies that is close to extinction. The remaining five species are all considered to be at the threatened status of extinction. The western black rhino is already extinct and has been for many years.

There is hope that the white rhino can be saved and the researchers will do everything in their power to do that.

Kaitlin Armstrong

Kaitlin Armstrong is a senior studying communications and emerging media. Originally from Atlanta, Ga., she shadowed the Atlanta Falcons’ community relations department in 2016. Armstrong hopes to use that experience to gain additional internships.

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