Meet the Loneliest Guy in the World

Watched by armed guards, Sudan is the last male northern white rhino
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2015 2:40 PM CDT
Sudan, a northern white rhino, arrives at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya on Dec. 20, 2009.   (AP Photo/Riccardo Gangale)
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(Newser) – If you think your Friday nights are boring, we present you with Sudan, the last male northern white rhino and one of only five of their kind left on planet Earth. At age 42 or 43, he's getting on in years (he's estimated to have about 10 years left), which lends a sense of urgency to breeding efforts that've proven so far to be unsuccessful. "It seems an image of human tenderness that Sudan is lovingly guarded by armed men who stand vigilantly and caringly with him," writes Jonathan Jones in a lament at the Guardian. "But of course it is an image of brutality. Even at this last desperate stage in the fate of the northern white rhino, poachers would kill Sudan if they could and hack off his horn to sell it on the Asian medicine market."

"While we manage to counter a large number of these, we often risk our lives in the line of duty," one of Sudan's guards at Ol Pejeta, a Kenyan reserve that's also home to two female northern white rhinos, tells the Mirror. Hanging around with armed guards isn't necessarily the final indignity: The paper also reports that Sudan's ivory tusk has been stripped to mitigate the threat to his life; ivory, it notes, currently fetches about $36,000 a pound on the black market. Both the Mirror and the Guardian have some pretty striking photos of Sudan. (Read more rhinoceros stories.)

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