With the death of Nola, a 41-year-old Northern White Rhino, an impending extinction draws closer as only three of her kind are left on Earth.
Nola was suffering from a bacterial infection and some other age related health issues. As the infection grew worse, the veterinarians decided to end Nola’s pain and euthanized her.
“This is a very difficult loss for the animal care staff who worked with her,” the San Diego Zoo wrote on Facebook, according to the New National Geographic site. “Nola’s legacy will live forever.”
The three remaining Northern White Rhinos – Sudan, Fatu, and Najin – are under intense watch at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Their species has fallen over the years due to poachers killing them for their horns (which sell for $60,000) – similar to the Stellar Sea Cow species which went extinct 27 years after being discovered due to hunters.
Scientist are trying to preserve the Northern White Rhino, or at least make a subspecies of the rhino. However, due to the last three rhino’s age, there is no natural way to bring back the Northern White Rhinos.
“In order to save the species for posterity and hopefully one day grow its numbers, the need for collaboration is paramount,” said Randy Rieches, an employee of Ol Pejeta Conservancy, according to the Independent.
To bring back Northern White Rhinos from the brink of extinction, scientists are experimenting with preserving sex cells from female Northern White Rhino to use during in vitro fertilization on Southern White Rhinos – this will only create a rhino closely related to the Northern White Rhino.
The rhino population is falling in general. The species decreased from 70,000 rhinos in 1970 to about 28,000 today according to the “Save the Rhino” campaign. With Nola’s death, the world is newly reminded that the extinction of species is a real threat in today’s world.