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Conservationists and animal lovers are mourning today for the loss Sudan the rhinoceros. Sudan was the world's last male northern white rhino. The 45-year-old animal was put by his carers a zoo in Kenya "age-related complications". He had been very poor health recently due to his old age. Zoo officials say his condition had "worsened significantly" and that he no longer had the strength to stand. His muscles had severely deteriorated his body and his skin had "extensive wounds". The zoo's director said: "Sudan's death was a cruel symbol human disregard nature and it saddened everyone who knew him....He stole the heart of many his dignity and strength."

Like many Earth's majestic beasts, hunters have hunted the northern white rhino near-extinction. There were more than 2,000 northern white rhino in the wild in the 1960s but their numbers continually dwindled because the value their horns. The only remaining northern white rhinos today are two females - Sudan's daughter and granddaughter. Both animals live captivity so they will be protected. There are hopes that the two females can produce young to keep the species going. In vitro fertilization techniques using stored semen other dead rhinos could be used to impregnate Sudan's offspring. The zoo is hoping to raise $9 million to fund the conservation project.

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