With the death of the last white rhino considered young enough to mate, the world is down to only 6 white rhinos as of October 21 2014. Not only does this threaten sub-species extinction, but Ol Pejeta rightly describes the northern white’s decline as “a sorry testament to the greed of the human race."
So what is the world doing about it?
I like to think that in the rapidly evolving field of social finance, there are organizations who will find innovative ways to fund and catalyse conservation projects. For instance - the Zoological Society of London is working with Social Finance, the United Nations Development Programme and the United for Wildlife partners to create an impact bond focused on securing the long-term future of rhinos globally. To learn more about the mechanics of this brilliant initiative visit http://bit.ly/1wjLenf and read more about the last of the white rhinos below.
While Suni might not have been killed directly by poachers, humans have played a significant role in the decline of his subspecies. There were over 2,000 wild northern white rhinos in 1960, but habitat destruction and poaching shrunk that number down to only 15 by the end of the 1980s. Dedicated conservation efforts temporarily revived the populations, but the poachers came back stronger. The tragic loss of Suni has eliminated a lot of hope that the subspecies could be recovered, though conservationists at Ol Pejeta have not given up hope yet. They have frozen sperm from Suni and healthy males in the past and will continue to try to breed the females. If that doesn’t work, they will attempt to breed the northern white females with southern white males. Though this is not ideal, it will help keep the genetic diversity.