Many a new love has been born on the dating app Tinder. But users may find a proposition of a different kind when they open Tinder today as they meet the world's most eligible bachelor nervously waiting to see which way he'll be swiped.
Meet Sudan, the world's last male northern white rhino. Once you hear his story, you'll want to swipe right and help Tinder to save a species.
"I don't mean to be too forward, but the fate of the species literally depends on me."
Why Is This White Rhino Such A Rare Catch?
In the wild, northern white rhinos have been extinct since 2008. So swiping right on Tinder won't get you a wild animal, but one which is wrapped in conservationists' cotton wool. He is protected by armed guards 24 hours-a-day. So much for privacy on your first date.
But Sudan is fiercely protected with good reason.
The northern white rhino's story is a familiar one told for other rhinos, elephants, and other species that are prized goals for hunters and poachers. Their double horns are what the poachers are after, part of an international trade that has gathered pace in recent years and accelerated the fate of many species in turn.
The last wild northern white rhino was killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006 and it was declared extinct two years later. The remaining members of the species have been kept safe in captivity ever since, but have dwindled from six rhinos in 2014 to just three today.
Southern white rhinos, which are close relations, are also dwindling in population, with fewer than 20,000 left in the wild in 2015. On average, three southern white rhinos are killed each day, so it seems only a matter of time before they are in the same position as their northern white rhino cousins.
Sudan and the two females, Fatu and Najin, live in Kenya at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
What's So Special About This White Rhino?
Imagine being the last member of your species. That's almost the reality for this rhino, one of only three northern white rhinos left in the world. But his profile doesn't give off any worries about his mating abilities.
"I perform well under pressure...6 ft (183 cm) tall and 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) if it matters."And his odds of finding a mate are good. Of the three northern white rhinos remaining, he's the only male.
But therein lies the problem that has driven Sudan to Tinder. There are some compatibility issues between the remaining rhinos.
Despite being, literally, the females' only option, all attempts at mating these northern white rhinos have thus far failed. The last male in the world has a low sperm count and the last two females are unable to conceive naturally. It is far from a match made in heaven.
Time is also not on the conservationists' side. The fourth last northern white Rhino, known as Nola, died at the age of 41, two years ago. Sudan is 43, which translates as 100-years-old in northern white rhino years.
So the clock is definitely ticking on the future of the only rhino that can live in central Africa. And that's why conservationists turned to Tinder for help.
How Tinder Is Helping To Keep White Rhino Love Alive
Ol Pejeta Conservancy reached out to Tinder to spread the word about the northern white rhino situation. The hope is to raise the $10 million that is needed to develop an effective in-vitro fertilization method for the species.
Matt David, Tinder's head of communications and marketing, is confident that Tinder will be able to help save the northern white rhino.
"We are optimistic given Sudan's profile will be seen on Tinder in 190 countries and over 40 languages. We partnered with Ol Pejeta Conservancy to give the most eligible bachelor in the world a chance to meet his match."The positive and novel publicity is, of course, a real bonus for the dating app too. But this should not detract from the partnership's smart approach to reaching a new audience with a pressing problem that can, for most of us, seem to be literally a world away.
Get swiping fast though. This plea is part of a 10-year conservation program designed to save the northern white rhino. And Sudan isn't getting any younger. Your Tinder interaction today could do far more than help you find your next date, it could literally help save an endangered species.
Not The First White Rhino On Social Media
Nola, the last northern white rhino to die, actually set the trend of white rhino social media interaction back in 2015. When she was euthanized in San Diego, the city's zoo ran the hashtag #Nola4Ever.
Sudan, or rather the conservationists, will hope his appearance on Tinder will achieve the same wish for the northern white rhinos. But if his species is going to live forever, or even just another generation, we may all need to swipe right for these stricken white rhinos on Tinder.
[Featured Image by Leon Neal/Getty Images]