Over a million years ago, the northern white rhino roamed across Chad, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. In 1960, there were about 2,000 of them. In the 1970s and ‘80s, poachers reduced their population from 500 to 15. Now, there are only six members of the species left.
That number had been seven until Friday, when Suni, a 34-year-old male who was the first northern white rhino to be born in captivity, was found dead by rangers at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. The cause of death is unclear. What's worse, Suni was one of two breeding males in the world.
"Consequently the species now stands at the brink of complete extinction, a sorry testament to the greed of the human race," the conservancy said in a statement.
Born at the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, Suni was brought to the conservancy in 2009 with four other northern white rhinos for a breeding program. Their horns were removed to make them less vulnerable to poachers. One of the rhinos after transport: