Everyone must have heard about the death of the “Sudan”, last male of the Northern White Rhinoceros species. He left the world at the age of 45 on 19 March 2018. For weeks I saw updates regarding his death on social media, online and even on print Medias. But were we really mourning his death?? People were putting status writing RIP and passing it on to others but were not really aware of the cause of the death. Seeing biologically Sudan died because he was just an old rhino who was ill for months and was even well past breeding age. But in real the real reason why this subspecies is nearly extinct is us, HUMANS….
Although Northern White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) is recognized as “only” a sub species of White Rhinoceros. It is survived by its family species of Southern White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum) having counting of around 20,000. And so the species as whole is not considered as endangered. While, this have been a very debatable topic, people often use it to get pass from the blame of killing Northern white Rhinoceros.
Thanks to poaching, Northern White Rhinoceros were declared extinct from the Wild about 20 years ago. They were even killed because of some stupid belief in Asia that white rhinoceros horns can cure various illness. Sudan was captured and removed from the wild in 1975. He was residing at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya for nearly a decade and protected by armed guards every second. Sudan has left two females as his legacy, his daughter Najin and granddaughter Fatu, but both of them are incapable of reproduction even if they have a mate. It’s sad that northern white rhinoceros are extinct, they just don’t know it yet. It is like they have become The Living Dead.
To save the Northern White Rhino species, scientists are planning to use In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Technique. But the problem is that it is yet proven on rhino and it needs a huge funding of approximate 10 million dollars. DNA has been stored of many white rhinos that died in the recent years and would be combined with similarly frozen eggs and sperms. And the embryo will be planted into surrogate Southern Female Rhinoceros.
Instead of raising so much money for this technique which is not even proven yet we can also use it for safety of southern white rhinoceros from poaching and other threats. Maybe southern white rhinos can fill void the created by northern white rhinos in ecological environment in coming eras. So should we use the money to bring them back or not?? (Comment what you guys think of it)
From the early age we have been taught than “prevention is better than cure”. But how much we are applying it?? Why we only pay attention when things are about to end??
We should learn from this that only practical and economical long-term solution for biodiversity loss is to conserve wildlife from starting rather than after reaching the sorry state in which northern white rhinoceros are. The future of earth and wildlife is in our hands and if we will not protect it then who will?? We cannot repopulate every species of the earth so we better start protecting them.
The death of the Sudan should remind us that how bad we have impacted the nature and wildlife. If really want to respect the death of the Sudan, then start changing your attitude towards nature now. If not, then the bad deeds we have done to nature is catching us. Extinction of northern white rhinocreos is just an indicator of what to come. We better be prepared for it.