It's the end of an era for the northern white rhino. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Guy lemal
The last remaining male of the species, Sudan, was put down on Monday after several months of ill-health.
The 45-year-old rhino, who had been living under armed guard at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, leaves behind only his daughter and grand-daughter - the last two surviving females.
According to reports, Sudan had been suffering from a degenerative condition of the bones and muscles, leaving him with extensive and painful skin wounds. He had been unable to stand at all for over 24 hours before the decision was made to end his suffering as humanely as possible.
"Sudan was the last northern white rhino that was born in the wild," said Jan Stejskal of Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic. "His death is a cruel symbol of human disregard for nature and it saddened everyone who knew him."
The future of the species now lies entirely with the possibility of using southern white rhinos as surrogates to carry northern white rhino embryos.
If this works, it may prevent the species from going extinct entirely. If it doesn't, then the northern white rhino will disappear forever when the last two remaining individuals eventually pass away.