The Northern White Rhinoceros, the last to be released in our project, is also the most threatened species in the collection. Fatu, a female and her mother Najin are the only remaining Northern White Rhinos left in existence. Without a living male to breed, this makes the species functionally extinct. Attempts at artificial insemination have been unsuccessful and now neither of the remaining females are healthy enough to birth a calf. They will be kept in a pen at a Kenyan Conservancy, protected by armed guards, until their death.
It is difficult to believe that this subspecies of the white rhinoceros was formerly found in most countries in East and Central Africa south of the Sahara. There are now none remaining in the wild at all. It is also not the first time this animal has faced extinction. Having always been a victim of rife poaching for its keratin horn, the Northern white rhino once had its population nearly depleted, in the 1970s and 80s, from 500 to 15. Although the possibility of restoring their numbers once seemed likely, when they climbed back up to 32, the positive outlook was short-lived.