With death of rhino, only six northern white rhinos left on the planet – ‘Consequently the species now stands at the brink of complete extinction, a sorry testament to the greed of the human race’Posted by Jim at Monday, October 20, 2014
By Jeremy Hance
20 October 2014
(mongabay.com) – Rhino conservation suffered another tragic setback this weekend with the sudden death of Suni, a male northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Suni's passing means there are only six northern white rhinos left in the world, and only one breeding male.
"Consequently the species now stands at the brink of complete extinction, a sorry testament to the greed of the human race," wrote the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in a statement.
Suni was not killed by poachers like so many rhinos in Africa today, but was found dead in his enclosure. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Suni was 34-years-old and the first northern white rhino to be born in captivity.
Northern white rhinos once roamed portions of Uganda, Chad, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The history of the species has already been one of near-misses. After the devastating rhino poaching crisis of the 1980s, the wild population was reduced to just 15 animals. However, this population eventually doubled, until rhino poaching for horn became rampant again in the mid-2000s. The last known northern white rhinos in the wild disappeared from Garamba National Park in the DRC around 2006. It is believed they were slaughtered by poachers.
Today there are only six left, all in captivity: two at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, one at Dvůr Králové Zoo—the only zoo to succeed at breeding the animals—and three in semi-captive conditions at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. [more]