Horny male seeks mate: Kenya's last
northern white rhino joins Tinder
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[April 28, 2017]
By Katharine Houreld
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Like many guys using
the Tinder dating app, Sudan loves the outdoors and travels widely. The
catch: he's the world's last male white northern rhino and desperately
needs to mate.
"I don't mean to be too forward, but the fate of my species literally
depends on me," reads his profile. "I perform well under pressure. I
like to eat grass and chill in the mud. No problems. 6 ft tall and 5,000
pounds if it matters."
Conservationists are hoping that Sudan's Tinder profile will help them
raise enough money for $9-million fertility treatment as all attempts at
getting him to mate naturally have failed.
Scientists would use Sudan's sperm to fertilize an egg from one of the
two last northern white rhino females: 17-year-old Satu or 27-year-old
Najin. The embryo will be implanted in a surrogate southern white rhino,
a far more common species.
"We tried everything to get them to mate naturally," said Elodie
Sampere, the marketing manager at Kenya's Ol Pejeta conservancy, where
all three white rhinos are accompanied by 24-hour armed guards.
"When he first tried to mount the girl, the rangers guided him ... but
it is difficult with a rhino," she said.
"We removed them from a zoo environment, which was not conducive to
natural instincts, and put them in a semi-wild environment. There were a
couple of matings, but it never resulted in a pregnancy."
Poachers sell northern white rhinos horns for $50,000 per kilo, making
them more valuable than gold or cocaine, and his keepers fear that
Sudan, who at 43 is ancient for a rhino, may die or be killed before
they can raise enough money.
[to top of second column]
The last surviving male northern white rhino named 'Sudan' grazes at
the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia national park, Kenya June 14,
2015. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File
"There's always that fear. He's old, he might die soon," said rhino
expert Richard Vigne, the CEO of Ol Pejeta. "As long as the demand
for rhino horn in the Far East persists, there will always be an
A swipe right on Sudan's Tinder profile - available in 190 countries
and 40 languages - directs users to the Ol Pejeta donation page:
Just hours after he went online, the number of hits was so high that
the Ol Pejeta website crashed.
(Editing by Louise Ireland)
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