Last male northern white rhino under 24/7 armed guard to save species from extinction

There are only five northern white rhinos left on the planet.

That is four females, one male.

To protect the endangered species from extinction, the last male is being placed under armed guard 24 hours a day at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya, to protect him from poachers.

The rhino, Sudan, has been fitted with radio transmitters to increase security and has had his horns removed to deter poachers. 

Last year, there were seven white rhinos. But a 34-year-old breeding male called Suni was found dead by rangers at the Kenyan reserve. That was followed in December by 44-year-old Angalifu in San Diego Zoo.

His death was rare for rhinos as it was of old age.

On the new measures for Sudan, a ranger at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Simor Irungu, said: 

"With the rising demand for rhino horn and ivory, we face many poaching attempts and while we manage to counter a large number of these, we often risk our lives in the line of duty."

Poachers are directly responsible for the near-extinction of the species.

Ol Pejeta contains three of the world's last rhinos of the species.

In 1960, there were more than 2,000 northern white rhinos.

But by 1980, there were only 15 of the animals left. 

Kenya Wildlife services suggest that 54 rhinos were killed by poachers in 2014.

The poachers methods are not simplistic. 

Rhino horn is more lucrative than drugs, and demand – primarily from Asia for its supposed curative elements – is high..

Poachers are not lone operators. Crime syndicates are after the precious horns. They use silenced weapons, infra-red cameras and sights as well as military-standard helicopters to hunt their quarry.

Now scientists are trying to mate Sudan with one of the other two females at the reserve.

Source: The Independent, CNN