If you’re single and a millennial then you certainly know that on the dating app Tinder swiping someone’s photo to the right means — YES I like you. And it’s not just about the photo (though that is a big part of it) you also have to come up with a catchy profile if you want your photo swiped to the right. You only have so much time to get that special someone’s attention. And your picture has to impress – instantly. And just like many guys using the Tinder dating app, a chap named Sudan is also on Tinder. Sudan is well-traveled and loves spending time in the great outdoors. Sudan’s profile reads well, but Sudan is one Tinder user who is truly desperate to hook up. You see, here’s the rub: Sudan is the world’s last male white northern rhino and he desperately needs to mate.
A conservationist in Nairobi set up Sudan’s Tinder profile in an attempt to raise money for a $9 million dollar fertility treatment program. Unfortunately, trying to mate Sudan naturally with the last two female white rhinos was unsuccessful. So scientists will use Sudan’s sperm to fertilize an egg from either Satu or Najin, the last two northern white rhino females. The embryo would then be implanted into a surrogate southern white rhino, which is a much more common species of rhinoceros.
Here’s Sudan’s Tinder profile message:
“I don’t mean to be too forward, but the fate of my species literally depends on me. I perform well under pressure. I like to eat grass and chill in the mud. No problems. 6 foot tall and 5,000 pounds, if it matters.”
In case you didn’t know, the reason northern white rhinos are close to extinction is that poachers sell white rhino horns for $50K a kilo, making them more valuable than cocaine. And since Sudan is 43, which is ancient for a rhino, time is of the essence. Conservationists not only have to preserve the species, but they have to protect any offspring that may result from the fertility treatment program they are setting up.
“We tried everything to get them to mate naturally,” said Elodie Sampere, the marketing manager at Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy, where all three white rhinos are accompanied by 24-hour armed guards. We removed them from a zoo environment, which was not conducive to natural instincts, and put them in a semi-wild environment. There were a couple of matings, but it never resulted in a pregnancy.”
So a swipe right on Sudan’s Tinder profile – available in 190 countries and 40 languages – directs users to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy donation page. The great news is that after just a few hours after Sudan posted to Tinder, the number of hits was so high that the Ol Pejeta website crashed. And you don’t necessarily need to be on Tinder to donate — you can just click on this link and make a donation at http://www.olpejetaconservancy.org/
We can all help a little, in little ways, in making a miracle happen in Nairobi. And make Sudan a proud papa.
Happy Father’s Day.