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Northern white rhino death brings subspecies closer to extinction

One of the world’s few remaining northern white rhinoceroses died in Kenya Friday, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy said, bringing the subspecies population to only six and closer to extinction.

“Consequently the species now stands at the brink of complete extinction, a sorry testament to the greed of the human race,” said the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in a statement.

The 34-year-old rhino named Suni was found dead in his boma, or fenced corral. A cause of death is still being determined, but poaching was ruled out.

One of the last two breeding males in the world, Suni was born in the Czech Republic at Dvůr Králové Zoo and brought to Kenya in 2009 at age 29. He was the first northern white rhinoceros to be born in captivity.

Suni was brought to the sanctuary in Kenya with four other northern whites in an effort to save the subspecies’ dwindling population from extinction, reported the Associated Press.

PBS NewsHour reported on the proliferation of poaching and effort by conservationists to stave off extinction of endangered rhino species in a report on World Rhino Day, celebrated yearly on Sept. 22 since 2010.

Last year, the asking price for a rhino horn sold on the streets in Asia was higher than that for gold or platinum at approximately $65,000 per kg, reported Reuters.

“We will continue to do what we can to work with the remaining three animals on Ol Pejeta,” said the Conservancy in a statement, “in the hope that our efforts will one day result in the successful birth of a northern white rhino calf.”