The last hours of his life were spent in vast pain due to an infection in his right leg and the degeneration of his muscles and bones. Scientists haven't given up on saving the subspecies from extinction.
A species of the rhinoceros is a step closer towards extinction after the last male has died in Kenya.
Sudan was 45 years old and could no longer stand up.
Will the Species Die Out?
The male rhino Sudan was moved from Africa to the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the 1970s when rampant poaching threatened to wipe out the species. "While prices of rhino horn are falling in China and Vietnam, poaching for horn still threatens all rhino species", said Peter Knights, CEO of environmental organization WildAid. The Rhino horns are also sold into Yemen where they are used as dagger handles.
Like elephants, rhinos in Africa are aggressively hunted for their lucrative horns and skin. There are still two female rhinos left in the conservancy. One is his 27-year-old daughter, Najin, and the other is her 17-year-old daughter, Fatu. However, conservationists had prepared for Sudan's inevitable death and harvested his semen before he passed. But not always. For instance, the world's very first white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) probably diverged from its relative, the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), around 7 million years ago without too much of a fuss.
One plan to save the species was to have eggs from the remaining females inseminated with sperm samples from now-deceased males before these are implanted to a surrogate female southern white rhino, a related subspecies with a population of about 20,000. I perform well under pressure.
The campaigners previous year launched a campaign to raise some 9 million dollars to enable Sudan to reproduce with his female counterparts using artificial methods. Efforts to get Sudan to mate naturally had been unsuccessful. Researchers at the zoo aim to use genome sequencing and stem cell technology to create northern white rhino embryos.
When Sudan was born in 1973 in the wild in Shambe, South Sudan, there were about 700 of his kind left in existence.
While Sudan seemed to take nicely to life at his new home, he never reproduced with the females.
The Institute for Conservation Research at San Diego Zoo has mounted a project to try to bring the northern white rhino back from the brink of extinction.
Sudan was something of a celebrity, attracting thousands of visitors.
The conservatory said in their statement, Sudan "significantly contributed to the survival of his species as he sired two females". Both female northern white rhinos remain at Ol Pejeta.
Ol Pejeta said that they had collected Sudan's genetic material on Monday that could be used in future to attempt reproduction of northern white rhinos. This was not always the case though.
While chances of success with in vitro fertilization are slim "we believe that giving up is not an option", the veterinarian at the Kenya conservancy, Dr. Stephen Ngulu, told the AP.