For all of you out there who use the dating app Tinder, you may have been slightly taken aback by coming across a picture of a rhino recently whilst doing your casual swiping.
The rhino’s name is Sudan and he is the last remaining northern white rhino.
Sudan, who currently resides in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, is unable to breed and therefore carries the burden of his species survival solely upon his shoulders, and though he probably doesn’t realise it, we do. Unfortunately, poaching levels are now at an all-time high, with rhinos succumbing to the hands of poachers every night. According to Richard Vigne, CEO of Ol Pejeta, they face poaching attempts on a constant basis. Rhinos are killed for their horn, which is sold in places such as Vietnam and China for small fortunes. For those of you who don’t know rhino horns are made of keratin – the same protein found in your hair and nails, and they do not, despite popular belief in the far east, have any medicinal purposes.
Due to the probability of being killed by poachers, Sudan is kept under 24-hour watch, with armed guards constantly at his side.
So why, you might be asking yourself, is a rhino on a dating app? Well, the answer to that is easy – unfortunately when it comes to finding a mate Sudan needs all the help he can get. And what better way to get it than through the biggest and most acclaimed dating app in the world? The aim of this campaign is to raise awareness of the plight of rhinos and to raise enough money to save the northern white rhino species from extinction by artificial insemination. The research programme, which is currently ongoing, aims to establish a herd of 10 northern white rhinos after five years of using in-vitro fertilisation.
It’s a race against time, as at 43, Sudan doesn’t have much longer to live and the most crucial part of the campaign is funding. Tinder will help Sudan reach hundreds and thousands of people, and if you match with him you are sent a link through to a page where you can learn more and hopefully donate to the cause.
Poaching has gone on for long enough, and we can’t let ourselves be the generation who does nothing while this majestic and amazing species is wiped out. So next time you open up your app and come across Sudan’s profile please – swipe right!