A northern white rhinoceros, Angalifu dies of old age at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in the U.S. After Angalifu’s death, the species now numbers at a mere 5 and is almost on the brink of extinction.
Angalifu was 44 years old when he died. This leaves only one northern white rhino in the U.S., also in the same zoo, namely Nola, an elderly female who was thought to mate with the deceased Angalifu, but sadly that couldn’t materialize.
Randy Rieches, a curator at the safari park said in a statement that the death of Angalifu is a great loss to us because not only has his death brought this species a step closer to extinction but also due to the fact that he was very popular and adored here.
There are only four northern white rhinos left in the whole world, all in captivity. Three are at a preserve located in Kenya and one at a zoo in Czech Republic. The ones located in Kenya were sent there by the zoo in Czech Republic in order to breed and pull the species out of extinction. But the Kenyan sanctuary have said in a statement that the hopes of breeding this species naturally is now out of question, and the only hope now left for this species is science. Artificial reproductive techniques may be employed to save this species.
There were more than 2,000 northern white rhinos in the wild as of 1960s but the number dwindled until only 15 were left in the wild by 1984. This was mainly due to poachers as the horns of these animals were sold at a high price in the black market because of a notion that they had strong medicinal powers.