What happened to the northern white rhinos


Suni. Photo: Jan Stejskal

With the death of Suni, the Northern White Rhino, the last chance for the species lies at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Najin and her daughter Fatu are currently housed with a male southern white rhino in hopes of producing a pregnancy in one of the cows.

The Northern White Rhino used to range over parts of  Eastern and Central Africa (Uganda, Chad, Sudan, the  Central African Republic, and Democratic Republic of the Congo). In 1960, 2,000 northerns existed.

With only 3 left at Ol Pejeta, 2 in the US, and 1 in the Czech Republic, how did it come to this? Why has the Northern succumbed to poaching so much more quickly than their Southern cousins?

Nola enjoying treats at the San Diego Zoo in the US. Photo via SDZ

Nola enjoying treats at the San Diego Zoo in the US. Photo: SDZ

They have been poached just like all other species of rhino, but the difference being civil wars in both Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan have had a devastating impact. Poaching initially increased during this time of civil unrest in the 1990s.

Despite this, the population managed to hold until 2003. Then there was another upsurge in poaching, sending the population plummeting.

While the Northerns fell, the Southern White Rhinos grew, benefiting from a conservation strategy, mainly of translocation. Dr. Ian Player and a small group of men headed up efforts to move them out of harm’s way, establishing new populations throughout southern Africa. The main population of these rhinos are the majority who are now in Kruger National Park.

Luck? Happenstance? Either way, it stands that one species is on the brink of extinction, while the other remains just steps away.

northern whites by ami vitale

Northern White Rhinos in Ol Pejeta. Photo: Ami Vitale

In a comment from Ol Pejeta:

“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.”




Categories: Rhino Ramblings, Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “What happened to the northern white rhinos

  1. Pingback: The Last Male on Earth | Fight for Rhinos

  2. Juan Brísíta

    The Asian cultures need to wake up. They can’teat and carve everything and anything that lives.

    The world in general is getting more and more overpopulated with humans and the animals pay the price from greed and modernization. Nothing humans consume is in moderation, it has to be in excess and much goes to waste. In many cases in 3rd world countries it is for survival driven by many bad folks in this world who all they care about is money, power or material things. One day mother earth will have its way and many viruses (humans)will be exterminated. There has to be balance in the universe and the earth is living in pain as we continue to destroy all the ecosystems and the animals that have adapted and evolved as the earth transforms for thousands/millons of years. Look at Chenorbyl after it was abandoned from the human disaster we created. Mother Earth is reclaiming it and the animals are returning since we left. If we think global warming is just one issuNe created by humans what do we think the Japan Tsunami created (by the earth shifting plates below ocean floors) did to impact the oceans currents including weather patterns. Look at California and the recent drought. Who can explain that current weather pattern? But notice the impact it will have on food supplies while others with oversized mansions( why such a big house in the first place)try to keep their lawns green.

    World leaders only have limited power against the corrupt corporations that exploit resources for profit when there are betters ways to protect the earth. They drive illegal activities which are rampant all over the world exploiting human and animals who are controlled throught threats and abuse.

  3. Please get thIs more WIDELY publicized in the West. We are with you!! Someone MUST get these rare&precious examples of divine creation out of an impoverished war zone that is predisposed to poaching for survival and profiteering.
    PLEASE get them to a Western wildlife preserve or to a private property owner’s range/ranch ASAP!!! With the right publicity, WE WILL PAY to transfer them, provide what it takes to help them adapt, and for their maintenance until the herd size increases to a safely sustainable level. But you MUST get the word out / make a broad-based, public plea for help!! Also, SHOW that you are serious and competent by accurately calculating the total cost to do all of this for 10yr increments – then calculate what the average individual and corporate donation must be based on an accurate assessment of the number of interested/likely donors.

    • There is nothing else that can be done at this point. They WILL be extinct. There is no breeding population left.
      Sudan has weak sperm, Najin in infertile and Fatu has bad knees and cannot withstand the breeding technique.
      Their future lies in science, and the “frozen zoo”, where samples are being stored for the possibility of recreation.

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