Endangered Northern White Rhino Dies, Only 6 Remain

Only six endangered northern white rhinos remain in the entire world after 34-year-old Suni, one of only two males of breeding ability, was found dead. The rhino, which was part of a conservatory in Kenya, was not killed by poachers, though the cause of death is still unknown. He leaves behind only one male and two females that can breed.

Conservationists have little hope for the survival of the subspecies, though they say they will not give up trying to breed the rhinos in captivity. Over at Mashable, Mike Livak points out that Suni was the first northern white rhino to ever be bred in captivity, an amazing feat considering the animals do not naturally mate very frequently.

Northern white rhinos became endangered because of a long history of poaching for their ivory horns. The ivory is seen by some cultures as having medicinal properties and is sold as a medicinal supplement on the black market.

Poaching affects many ivory-bearing animals in Africa, just as it has the northern white rhino. Conservationists are counting the days until the subspecies finally becomes extinct.

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