WWF Statement on Death of Sudan, the Last Remaining Male Northern White Rhino

The last remaining male Northern white rhino, Sudan, passed away in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya on March 19, 2017.  In response to this news, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statements: 

“Sudan was moved from his namesake country in Africa to what was then Czechoslovakia in 1975 where he stayed in captivity until December 2009 when he was moved back to Africa, to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. The conservancy played a critical role in providing excellent care for Sudan including 24/7 health support especially during his last days.

“I knew Sudan personally and supported efforts to rehabilitate him at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Although I am saddened by his death through euthanasia to save him from further suffering, I hope Sudan’s legacy will be a reminder of how failure to act is robbing us of culturally and ecologically important species at a rapid rate. All I can say is at least he died in Africa, where he was born.” – Martin Mulama, Rhino Program Coordinator, WWF-Kenya.

“The real fight for the survival of northern white rhinos in their natural habitat was lost over a decade ago. As conservationists, we must learn from the sad lessons of the past and ensure that we be bold and act decisively before this becomes a reality for any of the remaining five species of rhinos – or any other species. Large mammals, like rhinos, should be seen as symbols of large functioning ecosystems and we must focus our efforts and energy on their protection and ongoing survival within these vital landscapes around the globe.” – Jo Shaw, African Rhino Lead for WWF

“Sudan’s death not only marks the end of the road for the subspecies, it is also symbolic of the unacceptably high rate at which we are losing our planet’s biodiversity. It is a wake-up call for us to act now to halt staggering biodiversity loss and ensure the health and well-being of our planet its people and wildlife.” – Margaret Kinnaird, WWF Wildlife Practice Leader.

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