San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s 44-year-old northern white rhino, Angalifu, passed away yesterday, December 15th, leaving only five northern white rhinos in the world. Northern white rhinos are the largest of the entire species, and are often prey to poaching gangs. In 1960, there were over 2,000 northern white rhinos in the wild, but that number dwindled down to only fifteen by 1984 due to poaching. There is one female still let at the Safari Park, three rhinos at a preserve in Kenya, and one still at a zoo in the Czech Republic.
Although the Safari Park and Kenyan preserve have attempted to conserve the white rhinos through their breeding efforts, they have been unsuccessful. One of the last efforts that will be attempted by the park is the use of artificial insemination with the sperm of a male white rhino. As Randy Rieches, curator of mammals at the Safari Park, positively says “We’re not willing to give up yet.”
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