Forty-two-year-old Sudan is six feet tall and lives with two female companions, protected by armed bodyguards 24/7. But he’s still looking for a mate. So Sudan did what seems the new-age thing to do when you get lonely: he joined Tinder.
“I like to eat grass and chill in the mud. No problems. Six-foot tall and 5,000 lbs if it matters,” his profile reads. Sudan may not be good-looking in a conventional way but he’s charmed his way to the “most eligible bachelor in the world” tag. According to Reuters, just hours after his profile made it online, the links on it got so many hits that the Ol Pejeta Conservancy website crashed.
Sudan is actually the world’s last male white rhinoceros, and lives in Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy. A progeny, therefore, is the need of the hour. But neither of his two female rhinoceros companions are a good match – 27-year-old Najin is too weak to support a mate, and Fatu, 17, is unlikely to conceive from a mate three times her age with a low sperm count.
So scientists have pinned their hopes on using Sudan’s sperm to fertilise an egg from either of the two female rhinos and implant the embryo in a surrogate southern white rhino, a far more common species.
This experiment will require $9 million, and conservationists believe Tinder, with all the buzz around it, can help raise the funds for Sudan.
“I don’t mean to be too forward, but the fate of my species literally depends on me. I perform well under pressure.”
With white rhinoceros horns selling for $50,000 per kilogram, there is an ever-present threat of poaching, said Ol Pejeta CEO Richard Vigne. “There’s always that fear. He’s old, he might die soon.”