Only six Northern White Rhinos left on the planet!

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - OCTOBER 21, 2014

The endangered northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) is on the brink of extinction after a 34-year-old rhino called Suni, one of last two breeding males in the world, died in Kenya.

Suni, the first of his species to be born in captivity, was found dead on Friday by rangers at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy near Nairobi.

No northern white rhinos are believed to have survived in the wild.

Suni was born at the Dvur Kralove Zoo in Czech Republic in 1980 and was one of four northern white rhinos that were brought from that zoo to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in 2009 to take part in a breeding programme.

Experts had hoped the 90 000-acre private wildlife conservancy would offer a more favourable climate for breeding.

The conservancy said in a statement: “The species now stands at the brink of complete extinction, a sorry testament to the greed of the human race.

“We will continue to do what we can to work with the remaining three animals on Ol Pejeta in the hope that our efforts will one day result in the successful birth of a northern white rhino calf.”

Suni’s father, Suit, died in 2006 of natural causes, also aged 34.

Other rhinos

For South Africa’s black rhino (Diceros bicornis), the situation is not looking good as well. As of Friday, 868 rhinos had been killed for their horn.

The northern white’s relative, the West African black rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) was last seen in 2006, and declared officially extinct in 2011 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

An AfRSG of IUCN report gave the numbers of black rhino regional subspecies as:

– South-western (Diceros bicornis bicornis): 208

– Southern-central (Diceros bicornis minor): 1792

– Black rhino sub-species outside their natural range

– Eastern (Diceros bicornis michaeli): 68.