The world has lost its second northern white rhino in as many months, bringing the known tally of living specimens to just five.
San Diego Zoo tweeted the bad news yesterday that Angalifu, a 44-year-old male, died of old age on Sunday.
— San Diego Zoo Safari (@sdzsafaripark) December 15, 2014
“Angalifu’s death is a tremendous loss to all of us, not only because he was well beloved here at the park but also because his death brings this wonderful species one step closer to extinction,” safari park curator Randy Rieches told the AP in a statement.
He had failed to breed with an eldery park mate, Nola.
In late October, the last realistic chance of a male breeder, 34-year-old Suni, died at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Nairobi.
Some of Angalifu’s testicular tissue and sperm have been saved in the hope of one day resurrecting the species artifically.
There is one other male – Sudan – also at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, but he is believed to be unable to breed naturally.
He has two females, Najin and Fatu, for company. Another female is kept at the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic.