The last male northern white rhino on the planet, christened Sudan, is showing signs of deteriorating health, Ol Pejeta conservationists said on Thursday.
The rhino arrived at the conservancy in 2009.
“At the advanced age of 45, his health has begun deteriorating and his future is not looking bright,” the conservancy said in a statement.
Sudan developed an uncomfortable age-related infection on his back right leg towards the end of 2017. The infection was immediately assessed by a team of veterinarians from around the world.
He responded well to treatment and healed quickly.
Sudan resumed his normal movement and foraging habits from January up to mid-February, his demeanor and general activity improving significantly.
However, a secondary and much deeper infection was discovered beneath the initial one.
“The infection has been treated but is worryingly taking longer to recover. This is despite the best efforts of his team of veterinarians who are giving him 24-hour care,” the conservancy said.
“Everything possible is being done to help him regain his health,” Ol Pejeta said.
But it added: “We are very concerned about him. He’s extremely old for a rhino and we do not want him to suffer unnecessarily. We will keep you updated on all developments. Please keep him in your thoughts.”
On December 5 last year, the conservancy announced that a diverse committee of veterinarians, conservationists and wildlife managers from the Czech Republic, Kenya, UK and South Africa had met over the animal’s health.
They discussed the next steps of groundbreaking procedures seen as the last efforts to save the northern white rhino from extinction.
There are just three representatives of the sub-species left on the planet, one male and two females, all of which are ageing. They are housed in a special facility at Ol Pejeta.
The animals were moved to Africa from DvÅ¯r Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic in an attempt to get them to breed naturally under African conditions.