The world’s last remaining male northern white rhino, Sudan, passed away Monday evening, as reported by the Associated Press.

Photo by @amivitale With a heavy heart, I share this news and hope that Sudan's legacy will awaken us to protect this magnificent and fragile planet. Yesterday, wildlife ranger Joseph Wachira, 26 comforted Sudan, the last living male Northern White Rhino left on this planet moments before he passed away. Sudan lived a long, healthy life at the conservancy after he was brought to Kenya from @safari_park_dvur_kralov in the #Czechrepublic in 2009. He died surrounded by people who loved him at @olpejeta after suffering from age-related complications that led to degenerative changes in muscles and bones combined with extensive skin wounds. Sudan has been an inspirational figure for many across the world. Thousands have trooped to Ol Pejeta to see him and he has helped raise awareness for rhino conservation. The two female northern white rhinos left on the planet are his direct descendants. Research into new Assisted Reproductive Techniques for large mammals is underway due to him. The impact that this special animal has had on conservation is simply incredible. And there is still hope in the future that the subspecies might be restored through IVF. In 2009, I had the privilege of following this gentle hulking creature on his journey from the snowy Dvur Krulov zoo in the Czech Republic to the warm plains of Kenya, when he was transported with three of his fellow Northern White Rhinos in a last ditch effort to save the subspecies. It was believed that the air, water, and food, not to mention room to roam, might stimulate them to breed--and the offspring would then be used to repopulate Africa. At the time, there were 8 Northern white rhinos alive, all in zoos. Today, we are witnessing the extinction of a species that had survived for millions of years but could not survive mankind. Follow @olpejeta and @amivitale to learn more what we can all do to #coexist. @natgeo @natgeocreative @olpejeta @kenyawildlifeservice @thephotosociety  #SudanForever#WorthMoreAlive #OlPejetaRhinos #NorthernWhiteRhinos #protectrhinos #DontLetThemDisappear #rhinos #saverhinos #stoppoaching #kenya #northernkenya #africa #everydayafrica #photojournalism #amivitale #extinction

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Sudan was brought to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in 2009, and lived there with an armed guard until the time of his death. The 45-year old rhinoceros passed away from age-related complications, and a recently-developed infection on his back right leg.

After his rescue, Sudan became a worldwide symbol for animal conservation efforts. The news of his death was met with international grieving.

Although he was the last male of his species, he is survived by two female white rhinos, the last of their kind on the earth. There is hope that through IVF, the subspecies may be able to be saved from total extinction.

According to the AP, Jan Stejskal, director of international projects at Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, where Sudan lived before coming to Kenya said
Sudan's death "is a cruel symbol of human disregard for nature and it saddened everyone who knew him. But we should not give up. It may sound unbelievable, but thanks to the newly developed techniques even Sudan could still have another offspring."

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