Photo: One of the three Northern White Rhinos translocated to Ol Pejeta Conservancy now living in a semi-wild state. Keepers and armed security watch over the rhinos 24hrs a day. Courtesy of Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
Sudan, the last male northern white rhino on earth, has joined Tinder at the age of 43. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, where he currently lives with the remaining two female northern white rhinos, Najin and Fatu, has partnered with the dating app in a new campaign to raise money and awareness of the plight of “The Most Eligible Bachelor in the World.”
The goal of the campaign is to raise $9 million to protect the northern white rhino from extinction. The funds will be invested in Assisted Reproductive Technologies by a consortium of institutions working to craft in vitro fertilization that can help stave off the disappearance of this majestic creature.
Tinder, which has users in 190 countries and in 40 languages, has created a profile for Sudan. Users who swipe right will be directed to a campaign page that is working to raise the needed $9M.
The goal is to achieve successful pregnancies to gradually rebuild a viable herd of 10 northern white rhinos, which have been slaughtered by poachers in search of the ivory in their horn, estimated to be valued at $50,000 per kilo.
As of November 2015, Sudan, Najin, and Fatu (Najin’s daughter) were declared the last remaining northern white rhinos on earth. They lived under 24-hour armed guard, even though their horns were surgically removed in order to stave off poachers.
All three rhinos have aged out of their ideal breeding period, as Najin is 25 and Fatu is 15—and prime reproductive years start at age 6 and 7 years old. At the same time, Sudan’s sperm levels have been reported to be critically low as he reaches the final years of his life. Scientists are optimistic that, with the necessary technology, they will be create viable embryos that can be implanted into surrogate southern white rhino female and carried through gestation to live birth, ensuring that these magnificent animals can sire the progeny to keep the species alive.
“The plight that currently faces the northern white rhinos is a signal to the impact that humankind is having on many thousands of other species across the planet,” said Richard Vigne, CEO, Ol Pejeta Conservancy. “This represents the last option to save the species after all previous breeding attempts proved futile.”
The greatest hurdle the project faces is funding to execute these plans—so for all you animal lovers and rhino aficionados, let’s give love a chance!
Miss Rosen is a journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Online, Whitewall, The Undefeated, Dazed Digital, Jocks and Nerds, and L’Oeil de la Photographie. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.