At 44, Sudan has defied the odds to become the oldest northern white rhino in captivity, and the effects of his advanced age are beginning to show. His skin is no longer soft and taut, but a wrinkly and loose mess. His hind legs no longer have the muscle to carry his weight during his romantic escapades, and, to top it all off, his sperm count is now low and of poor quality.
Yes, Sudan is not the sprightly young fellow he was a few years ago. The energy is gone, the moves ebbed, the romance a bit uncomfortable and embarrassingly shaky.
Here are some things you need to know about Sudan, the world's most eligible bachelor:
- Sudan is the last of his kind on Earth and one of just three northern white rhinos remaining on the planet.
- That northern white rhinos exist today at all is largely thanks to a former director of a small zoo in Czechoslovakia.
- The white rhinoceros is second only to the African elephant in the size of land mammals.
- White rhinos are believed to have the most complex social structure of all rhino species.
- White rhinos are the second largest land mammal after the elephant. Adult males can reach 1.85m in height and tip the scales at a massive 3.6 tonnes. Females are considerably smaller but can still weigh in at an impressive 1.7 tonnes.
- White rhinos are also known as the square-lipped rhinoceros due to their square (not pointed) upper lip. Their name comes from the Afrikaans word "weit", which means wide and refers to the animal's muzzle.
- Females reach sexual maturity at 4-5 years of age but do not reproduce until they reach 6 -7 years. Males tend not to mate until they are 10-12 years old. They can live up to 40 years.
- White rhinos are the only grazer among the five rhino species, feeding almost exclusively on short grasses.