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Northern White Rhino: Only 4 Left on Earth After Fifth Dies

Image: Northern White Rhino: Only 4 Left on Earth After Fifth Dies
The only remaining male northern-white Rhino on the planet, 'Sudan' is seen on May 23, 2015, at the ol-Pejeta sanctuary in Nairobi, Kenya. One of four remaining females died Monday. (TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 29 Jul 2015 02:39 PM

One of the last five northern white rhinos in the world died Monday at the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic from complications due to a ruptured cyst.

Nabiré, who was 31 years old, had been bred and raised in the Dvur Kralove Zoo, and her death leaves just three female northern white rhinos and one male still alive.

“It is a terrible loss,” Premysl Rabas, the director of the Dvur Kralove Zoo, said in a statement, according to The Huffington Post. “Nabiré was the kindest rhino ever bred in our zoo. It is not just that we were very fond of her. Her death is a symbol of the catastrophic decline of rhinos due to a senseless human greed. Her species is on the very brink of extinction.”

Because of the large number of cysts riddling one of Nabiré’s ovaries, she was never able to conceive naturally. But after her death on Monday, her healthy ovary and other tissue samples were removed and taken to a lab in Italy, where it is hoped that they may aid scientists in their studies of northern white rhino reproduction and possibly in vitro fertilization.

Because of the widespread poaching of northern white rhinos throughout Africa from 1960 to 1984, the rare species’ numbers fell from more than 2,000 to just 15, according to The Huffington Post. With just four of the rhinos remaining, scientists and conservationists are struggling to figure out how best to aid the species in reproduction, including entertaining the idea of implanting an embryo in the closely-related southern white rhino species, according to BBC News.

Advocates and fans of the northern white rhinos received a scare earlier this year when Nola, a female rhino living in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, appeared to be suffering from cancer. Earlier in July, however, Nola was cleared from cancer and was in recovery from an apparent infection.

Three of the four remaining northern white rhinos, two females and the only living male, live on a wildlife conservancy in Kenya. The fourth female is at the San Diego Zoo.

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One of the last five northern white rhinos in the world died Monday at the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic from complications due to a ruptured cyst.
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Wednesday, 29 Jul 2015 02:39 PM
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