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Swipe right! Last male northern white rhino joins Tinder

Sudan, the last male northern white rhino left on the planet, in Kenya.
Nichole Sobecki | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Sudan, the last male northern white rhino left on the planet, in Kenya.

A rhinoceros dubbed the world's most eligible bachelor is debuting on Tinder, and a swipe right could help save his species.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya partnered with dating app Tinder to launch a campaign to raise awareness about the rhino, named Sudan, who the conservancy says is the only remaining male northern white rhino in the world. The goal is to raise the $9 million needed to protect the species from extinction.

Tinder users who swipe right on Sudan's profile are directed to a donation page. Matt David, Tinder's head of communications and marketing, says he is optimistic Sudan's profile will be seen on Tinder in 190 countries and over 40 languages.

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"I'm one of a kind," Sudan says on his profile. "No, seriously, I'm the last male white rhino on the planet earth. I don't mean to be too forward, but the fate of my species literally depends on us getting together."

Adds Sudan: "I like to eat grass and chill in the mud. No problems performing under pressure. 6ft tall and 5,000lbs if it matters."

It really is a life-or-death situation. Sudan is under 24-7 armed guard on the conservancy's sprawling, 90,000-acre wildlife refuge in Central Kenya. He lives with two female northern white rhino counterparts, Najin and Fatu. They have been unable to breed naturally due to a range of issues including old age.

The funds raised will go toward ongoing research into Assisted Reproductive Techniques by a consortium of institutions. If successful, the technology could provide pregnancies to gradually build up a viable herd of northern white rhinos and ultimately reintroduce them into the wild, says conservancy CEO Richard Vigne.

"This represents the last option to save the species after all previous breeding attempts proved futile," said Vigne.

African rhinos are divided into two species, black rhinos and white rhinos. They live in open savanna and are threatened by the illegal trade of their horn. Southern white rhinos, once thought to be extinct, now thrive in protected sanctuaries and are classified as near threatened, the World Wildlife Fund says.

"Northern white rhino subspecies is believed to be extinct in the wild and only a few captive individuals remain in a sanctuary in Kenya," the organization says on its website.

The silver lining for rhinos: Black rhinos have doubled in number over the past two decades from a low point of 2,480 individuals. Still, their total number remains a small fraction of the estimated 100,000 that existed in the early part of the 20th century, the World Wildlife Fund says.

Says Vigne: "The plight that currently faces the northern white rhinos is a signal to the impact that humankind is having on many thousands of other species across the planet."