Meet Sudan: A 42-year-old male Northern White Rhino living in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.
What makes Sudan special? He is the last male of his species living on the planet. Only four other rhinos of this subspecies exist, and they're all female. To make it even more bleak, Sudan is too old to breed. Soon, Northern White Rhinos will be extinct from the planet.
Habitat loss is a factor in the decline of these animals, but overhunting sealed the fate of the species. Even though these rhinos have nearly been wiped out entirely, the threat of being killed by poachers is so high, Sudan is protected around the clock by armed rangers.
Rhinos are targeted for their horns. While some want them for decoration, some individuals in certain Asian countries believe that the horns have special healing properties, treating everything from impotence to cancer.
Though this belief is absolutely not supported by science, the demand for the horns is still there, and they fetch about $30,000 per pound on the black market.
A GoFundMe campaign has been started to provide the equipment and paychecks needed for rangers to protect Sudan and take on poachers who are targeting other animals, such as tigers and elephants. The funding will provide training, GPS units, dogs, and whatever else the rangers need to protect themselves and the animals.
Ranger fatalities are all too common, and increasing the amount of supplies at their disposal could not only save their own lives, but the lives of the animals as well.
Though the days are numbered for the Northern White Rhino subspecies, there are five main species of rhino on the planet who are all being targeted for their horns and are deserving of protection.
Southern White Rhinos are essentially the poster children of conservation success and are proof that dedicated efforts can pay off. While there were less than 100 wild Southern White Rhinos in 1895, dedicated care and protection has built the population up to over 17,000 today.
For your daily dose of cuteness, take a look at this video of a Southern White Rhino calf when it is only one day old, and remember to protect him and his cousins.
If you want to keep sharing the planet with these amazing animals, please consider supporting those who are literally putting their lives on the line to protect them. Visit Ol Pejeta Conservancy's website to learn more, and make a donation at GoFundMe.
Use #LastMaleStanding in social media to draw attention to Sudan's unfortunate title of the last male of his species that will ever exist on this planet.
Header image credit: Ol Pejeta Conservancy