I visited Sudan last year in Kenya. He was bruised at the edge of his rump (a body part of rhinos just above the tail) in a fight with another of his species. He had lost one eye and suffered several age-related complications. His guard explained Sudan’s life to us, highlighting why he was captured, why he refused to mate and why he behaved the way he did. I distinctly remember him letting me feed Sudan a stick of sugar cane as a reward for showing up when whistled.
There were only five northern white rhinos remaining in 2005 when circumstances became so crucial that we had to capture them, to save them from the effects of poaching, disease, and pressure from human settlements. What did we do to prevent these effects instead of just confining the animals? Nothing. We just watched as more and more complications occurred and they finally died, just like Sudan. It is important that we as human race understand the crucial part; these exotic animals play towards a balance on Earth. An anonymous source quoted ‘Humans did this by going for the horns and I think humans have a responsibility to correct it’. We could not save Sudan but if we change our way of life, there might finally be hope for the remaining of his species.
There is no more hope of naturally saving the northern white rhino species hence, scientists are finding alternate options to save the already declared extinct species from complete extinction. After the euthanizing of Sudan, the further effort is to implant his stored sperms in a southern white female rhino, who will act as a surrogate. These tests have been unsuccessful in most previous cases, which does not help our case.
The northern white rhinos are just one example of all the species that are declared extinct or on the verge of extinction, and I have no option but to believe that it is as a result of us invading their habitat. According to WWF, we are losing 18.3 million acres of forest annually, which is 27 soccer fields per minute. This is just one of the efforts we are putting in to destroy other species, food cycle and the balance of earth. Humans have become too selfish to realize that the animals deserve the earth just as much as they do.
This is just the start to extinction; the end is still about to begin.
Illustration by: Bethany Fulks