The world's last male northern white rhino, Sudan, has died after "age-related complications", researchers announced yesterday, saying he "stole the heart of many with his dignity and strength".

A statement from the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya said the 45-year-old rhino was euthanised after his condition "worsened significantly"and he was no longer able to stand. His muscles and bones had degenerated and his skin had extensive wounds, with a deep infection on his back right leg.

The rhino had been part of an ambitious effort to save the subspecies from extinction after decades of decimation by poachers, with the help of the two surviving females. One is his daughter, Najin, and the other is her daughter, Fatu.

His death won't have an impact on the efforts to save the subspecies, as the focus turns to in vitro fertilisation techniques using stored semen from other dead rhinos and eggs extracted from the two remaining females.

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Sudan was born in Sudan and was the last of his kind to be born in the wild.

- AP