A critically endangered subspecies of rhinos, they have faced a myriad of challenges, from habitat loss to poaching for their horns. Despite these obstacles, they symbolize resilience, but time is running out.
Named Fatu and Najin, only two white northern rhinos are left, of which only one can breed. In 2021, BioRescue released the unfortunate news that they could no longer harvest eggs from 32-year-old Najin, leaving her daughter, Fatu, as their last hope of survival.
You may remember Fatu’s father, Sudan, believed to be the last remaining male northern white rhino, who sadly passed away in March 2018. Following this, extinction seemed inevitable, but not anymore.
Where are They?
Both rhinos currently reside at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, a vast 700-acre reserve that has become their last hope for survival as the northern white rhinos teeter on the brink of extinction. In this conservation haven, alongside providing them with 24/7 security, dedicated teams of scientists, veterinarians, and caretakers are working tirelessly to protect and preserve this subspecies.
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s mission extends far beyond just providing a safe home for these rhinos; it includes ground-breaking efforts in assisted reproduction techniques like in vitro fertilization and surrogacy to give the northern white rhinos a fighting chance to thrive again against all odds. Currently, they have managed to create 12 rhino embryos from Fatu’s eggs – the results have yet to be discovered.
Where Do They Roam?
While the vast Ol Pejeta Conservancy now serves as their current sanctuary, it’s a far cry from the historical expanses they once roamed freely. In the past, northern white rhinos used to roam across the wide and diverse landscapes of East and Central Africa, from the lush savannas of Uganda to the dense forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
These regions were once their natural habitats, where they played crucial roles in maintaining the ecological balance of these ecosystems. However, the relentless threats of habitat destruction and illegal poaching have drastically reduced their range, making the conservation efforts at Ol Pejeta even more vital for the survival of this iconic species.
What’s the Difference Between Northern and Southern White Rhinos?
Northern and southern white rhinos exhibit notable differences in size, geographic range, population status, and feeding habits. Historically, northern white rhinos roamed East and Central Africa, while southern white rhinos are indigenous to Southern Africa.
Southern white rhinos are larger, with a wide, square-shaped mouth adapted for grazing on grasses. They tend to be more social, often forming groups. In contrast, northern white rhinos are slightly smaller, with pointed, hook-shaped upper lips suited for browsing on leaves and shrubs, and they typically have a more solitary nature.
Astonishingly, around 17,000 southern white rhinos are left, making them a conservation success story compared to a measly two northern white rhinos.
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