Ol Pejeta Conservancy has partnered with Tinder, the world’s leading social app for meeting new people, to launch a new campaign to raise awareness about ‘The Most Eligible Bachelor in the World’ named Sudan. Sudan is the only remaining male northern white rhino on the planet, and the campaign supports the last remaining efforts to save the critically endangered species.
The goal of the #MostEligibleBachelor campaign is to raise the $9 million needed to protect the northern white rhino from extinction.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, CEO of Ol Pejeta Conservancy Richard Vigne said that this campaign was an optimistic step towards reintroducing a viable population of Northern White Rhino back into the wild after natural ways of breeding had failed due to a number of reasons including old age.
He explained that Sudan who is now 43 years old, which is an equivalent of about 90+ years in humans couldn’t be able to breed with the last remaining female Northern White Rhino counterparts, Najin and Fatu, who were brought to Kenya in 2009. Even after numerous attempts to coerce copulation, none of the females got pregnant. Some of the reasons why they cannot breed naturally are:
- Both females are actually infertile. One of the reasons owing to that, as Richard explained, was the fact that they had been kept in zoo habitats for too long without being breeding successfully, thus their reproductive capabilities degenerated. They also have problems with their reproductive tracts that prevent them from holding a pregnancy.
- Sudan is too old to mount females due to his age and obviously weakened body state because of the age factor. Since he was also left alone for too long without breeding mates, his reproductive capabilities also deteriorated.
With this knowledge, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy team urgently needed to raise awareness and funds for the research needed to save the species as all previous breeding attempts have proven unsuccessful.
The ongoing research into Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) is currently ongoing in a consortium of institutions in the United States, Germany and Japan. Once perfected, this technology, in particular in vitro fertilization (IVF), will aid to achieve successful pregnancies to gradually build up a viable herd of northern white rhinos.
So far, zoological experts have been developing a technique known as ovum pick-up (OPU) which involves the collection of eggs from females. Once fertilized, using stored semen which has been stored in various zoos across the world, the developing embryos will then be implemented into surrogate southern white Rhino females, in the hope of achieving northern white rhino pregnancies. According to Richard, if this whole process is fruitful, we could expect the number of northern white rhinos to rise in the next 5-10 years if they are successful in re-implanting the embryos back into the southern white rhino females in the next three years.
They expect a number of about 20 Northern white rhino calves to be born and returned back to Garamba National Park by the year 2028. Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo was the home from which the four remaining northern white rhinos (Najin, Fatu, Sudan and Suni) were rescued from heavy presence of poaching and brought to Kenya in December 2009.
However, with Sudan’s age, time is a crucial factor, thus the financial support needed to go on with this project that would see this group of experts bringing the northern white rhino back from the brink of extinction, is urgently needed.
Sudan is not only The Most Eligible Bachelor, but he also boasts a pretty impressive profile. Not only is he a pretty fine specimen of a rhino, but he has his own personal team of armed bodyguards, and has appeared in a string of international documentaries and news stories. Sudan lives his bachelor life at Ol Pejeta Conservancy with his female counterparts, Najin and Fatu.
From today, Sudan will be on Tinder. His profile will be seen on Tinder in 190 countries and over 40 languages, giving him a chance to meet his match.
When Tinder users ‘swipe right’ on Sudan’s profile, they will be directed to this page from which viewers all around the world can donate towards this cause.