Wake-up Call: Last Male Northern White Rhino Dead
Sudan, the last Northern White Rhino male, died yesterday.
Conservationists expected the death. Sudan, an elderly rhino, developed an infection on his back leg. He leaves the last two Northern White Rhinos, two females, behind. Sudan and the two remaining females were unable to produce children. However, scientists harvested sperm and eggs. Hopefully, conservationists successfully use IVF to bring the species back someday, using Southern White Rhinos as surrogates.
The Northern White Rhino is the second rhino species to face almost certain extinction. The Western Black Rhino went extinct in 2013. One thousand Eastern Black Rhino currently roam Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Outside of rhinos, seven species are thought to be extinct all over the world. As of 2017, 27 new species are considered possibly extinct or extinct in the wild. With species smaller and less researched than rhinos, it is hard to tell when a species is truly extinct.
The IVF procedure is not guaranteed to work, and it will cost more than nine million dollars. Bringing the Northern White Rhino back is much more expensive than protecting it in the first place would have been. For almost every species, the cost of prevention is much cheaper than what it takes to turn back the clock.
What We Can Do About It
This should be a wake-up call. While poachers threaten rhinos the most, other species disappear forever because of climate change and the pollution caused by the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. As temperatures rise around the world, ecosystems working seamlessly for thousands and millions of years are starting to unravel. As oceans warm, acidify by absorbing increasing amounts of carbon dioxide, and are over-fished, aquatic species disappear. As ice caps melt, islands and coastal regions are flooded, unique ecosystems are ruined.
Solar is part of the solution to save the world. The investment into a solar array not only shrinks a power bill, it helps protect the organisms we share this earth with. Do your part today.
National Geographic: After Last Male’s Death, Is the Northern White Rhino Doomed?
2017 Possibly Extinct and Possibly Extinct in the Wild Species Table
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