Northern White Rhinos Closer to Extinction Than Ever

Dec 15, 2014 at 4:48 pm |

Northern White Rhino

Several northern white rhinos were transferred from the Czech Republic to a Kenyan reserve in 2009 (Photo credit MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images)

One of six remaining northern white rhinoceroses died this morning at the San Diego Zoo, leaving only five members of the subspecies left. Angalifu was believed to be 44 years old when he died of old age.

Angalifu was born in the wild but later raised in Khartoum Zoo in Sudan until 1990, when he was transferred to California. He was the only male northern white rhino on the American continents. The other rhinoceros at the San Diego Zoo is Nola, who is a female northern white rhino, and about the same age as Angalifu was.

There are five extant subspecies of rhinoceros in the world today. The southern white rhino is the most populous of these subspecies, with over 17,400 members left in the world. The northern white rhino has been labeled as Critically Endangered and Extinct in the Wild for years.

Attempts to have the three northern white rhinos on a Kenyan reserve reproduce naturally have all but failed, and following today’s loss, experts will reportedly proceed with efforts at in vitro fertilization.

This rhinoceros subspecies has only five remaining members in the world. Read more here…