Sudan is a 45-year-old northern white rhino that lives in Kenya’s Laikipia National Park.

He is also the last male northern white rhino on the planet, and one of the three that remain.

His death could spell the end of the very existence of his species.

There were over 20,000 rhinos in Kenya alone in the 1970s. Incessant poaching led to that number falling to 400 in the 1990s. Official records state there are around 650 rhinos in Kenya currently, but almost all of them are black.

A white rhino’s horn sells for more than $50,000 per kilo in the black market (more than gold or cocaine) and that alone is the reason why there are just 3 left in the world.

Sudan is now guarded 24×7 by armed wardens as he spends the last days of his life along with two female white rhinos, Najin and Fatu. 

Scientists are trying to make Sudan reproduce through in-vitro fertilization using eggs from Najin. The embryo will be implanted in a surrogate southern white rhino but chances of success are apparently very bleak.

At 45, Sudan is nearing the end of his life expectancy and is struggling with a foot infection that is causing him a lot of discomfort. The situation is so bad that the vets taking care of Sudan are considering putting it down to spare him from the excruciating pain.

But as the very existence of the species hinges in the balance, we humans need to take a long, hard look at ourselves and ask what exactly we’re doing to the beautiful planet we live in.