Monday, 23 April 2018

Africa’s northern white rhino shouldn’t be resurrected ‘Jurassic Park-style’

Bringing the white rhino back to life – there are two still alive but unable to reproduce – is tempting but if humans cannot save a species in nature, what future for animals can we manufacture?

Tuesday 10 April 2018 17:12 BST

A geriatric semi-captive rhino died in Kenya recently. “Sudan”, a 45-year-old northern white rhino was put to sleep as vets decided, after months of ill health, that his condition had deteriorated to the point where the levels of pain and quality of life were unacceptable.

From a conservation perspective, this does not sound like a big deal. Sudan was one old rhino. He was well past breeding age. So why did his death make headlines?

Sudan was the last surviving male northern white rhinoceros, a subspecies known to scientists as Ceratotherium simum cottonithat went extinct in the wild about 20 years ago thanks to poaching. He was captured and removed from the wild in 1975, the last wild-caught northern white rhino. Sudan’s daughter Najin, and granddaughter Fatu, are now the only two left, and they are both old and incapable of reproduction even if they had a mate.

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