Google’s Sunday doodles for Sudan honor the last male surviving northern white rhino, known as the “gentle giant”.
The doodles mark the anniversary of the day in 2009 when Sudan and three other northern white rhinos arrived at their new home in the Ol Pejeta Reserve in Kenya. Sudan is believed to be the last northern white rhino to be born in the wild, as it was captured in Champ, Sudan in 1975.
A year later, it was transferred to the Dvor Kralove Zoo in Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), the only zoo in the world where the northern white rhino was successfully bred. There, Sudan gave birth to three calves and became one grandfather.
The four were moved to Ol Pejeta Reserve in 2009 after the northern white rhino was declared extinct in the wild. Conservationists had hoped the presence in their natural habitat would encourage K. enyan breeding among rhinos, but these efforts were unsuccessful.
Sudan spent the last years of his life with his daughter Najin and granddaughter Fatou, before he was murdered in 2018 at the age of 45.
Despite the death of Sudan, scientists hope to harness in vitro fertilization techniques to save the strains. But at present, Nagine and Fatu are the last two northern white rhinos in the world.
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