Memorial held for the last male northern white rhino on Earth

The last two northern white rhinos on Earth appeared mournful during a memorial held for the final male of their kind as the species stands on the brink of extinction.

Sudan, 45, died last month after suffering from a degenerative muscle and bone condition linked to age which left him unable to stand up.

Sudan's demise should spell the end of his subspecies, but scientists have gathered genetic material and hope to develop IVF techniques to produce more white rhinos. 

He is survived by the last two females of his species, his 27-year-old daughter Najin and 17-year-old granddaughter Fatu.

A caretaker consoles Najin, one of only two female northern white rhinos left on the planet. Najin was at a memorial service for her father, Sudan, who died last month. He was the last surviving male of the species

Fatu, pictured here on the left next to Najin, was also at the memorial service. Najin, 27, is the daughter of Sudan while 17-year-old Fatu is his granddaughter

Fatu, pictured here on the left next to Najin, was also at the memorial service. Najin, 27, is the daughter of Sudan while 17-year-old Fatu is his granddaughter

Sudan's demise should spell the end of his subspecies. But scientists desperately hope that by gathering genetic material they will be able to develop IVF techniques to produce more white rhinos. Najin is pictured looking sad

Sudan's demise should spell the end of his subspecies. But scientists desperately hope that by gathering genetic material they will be able to develop IVF techniques to produce more white rhinos. Najin is pictured looking sad

A plaque is unveiled in memory of Sudan, the final white northern rhino male. He died at the age of 45 after suffering from a degenerative muscle and bone condition linked to age which left him unable to stand up

A plaque is unveiled in memory of Sudan, the final white northern rhino male. He died at the age of 45 after suffering from a degenerative muscle and bone condition linked to age which left him unable to stand up

Ranger Zacharia Mutai, pictured, comforts Sudan, the last living male Northern White Rhino on the planet, moments before he was euthanised by a vet due to his age-related muscle and bone wasting disease at the Ole Pejeta Wildlife park in Kenya

Ranger Zacharia Mutai, pictured, comforts Sudan, the last living male Northern White Rhino on the planet, moments before he was euthanised by a vet due to his age-related muscle and bone wasting disease at the Ole Pejeta Wildlife park in Kenya

The pair appeared sad when they attended a memorial service for Sudan, whose death has led a Kenyan government official to declare anyone caught possessing ivory should be sentenced to life in prison.

'Ivory belongs to elephants and rhinos,' said Najib Balala, Kenya's tourism minister, during a memorial service held at Ol Pejeta Conservancy on Saturday for Sudan.

Wildlife officials at Ol Pejeta, about 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of Nairobi, put down the rhino on March 19 because of rapid deterioration in his health. 

The only hope for preserving their species is through in vitro

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