Sudan might be the loneliest and most eligible bachelor in the world. Before you rush set him up with your friend who you know is just perfect for him, you should know something: he’s a northern white rhinoceros. And he’s the only male of his species on the planet.
Although this has been Sudan’s situation for several years, he is now receiving worldwide attention thanks to a viral tweet from biologist Daniel Schneider:
Want to know what extinction looks like? This is the last male Northern White Rhino. The Last. Nevermore pic.twitter.com/o4obIQUpaR
— Daniel Schneider (@BiologistDan) November 6, 2017
“Want to know what extinction looks like? This is the last male Northern White Rhino. The Last. Nevermore,” he wrote in a tweet alongside a photo of the gentle giant.
Sudan lives with two other known living females of his species at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. They are protected from rhino poachers by a 24-hour armed guard. However, it is not only hunters who puts him at risk for extinction. Unfortunately, at 44 years old, Sudan has a declining sperm count, and attempts to mate with his companions have been successful.
Determined to keep his species alive, his caretakers are hoping to utilize modern technology to help Sudan reproduce. In April, they created an account for Sudan on the dating app Tinder. In 190 countries around the world, when users “match” with Sudan, they are taken to a site where they can donate to help pay for in-vitro fertilization (IVF), that researchers hope will be the key to helping him successfully reproduce.
The road ahead will not be an easy one, however. “We’ve got an awfully long way to go, a 10-, possibly even 15-year program to recover this species,” Richad Vigne, chief executive of the Conservancy, told CNN. “We estimate it will cost somewhere in the region of nine-to-10 million dollars.”
Scientists hope that after five years of successful IVF treatment, they will have successfully created a herd of 10 northern white rhinos—and bring them back from the brink of extinction.
To learn more about their campaign and donate, visit the Ol Pejeta Conservancy website.