In search of a hook up that might well save his species, the world’s last male northern white rhino has taken to dating app Tinder.
Showing that a lack of opposable thumbs is no barrier to finding love in the twenty-first century, Sudan – who lives in Kenya – has been dubbed “the most eligible bachelor in the world” by the team caring for him. But while he has two potential suitors remaining, he needs the internet’s help to make the magic happen.
With armed guards keeping him under surveillance 24/7, dating conditions have not been ideal. As such he’s been granted special privileges, and Tinder has made him a profile available all over the world.
“It’s going to be broadcast in 190 countries and in 40 languages,” says Mathieu Plassard of communications agency Ogilvy Africa. “(It’s) the first time that Tinder has done something like (this).”
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy, in charge of Sudan’s care, hope to raise funds for one final attempt to save the imperiled species. No spring chicken, 43-year-old Sudan has failed to successfully mate with the two female northern white rhinos left, and the conservancy is seeking funding for in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
“I don’t mean to be too forward, but the fate of my species literally depends on me,” reads Sudan’s profile. Tinder users who swipe right will be directed to a site where the public can donate to help Sudan on his mission to go forth and multiply.
Donation is the UK and Europe are being processed by Virgin Money, in the US by CrowdRise and in Kenya by popular mobile service MPesa.
“We’ve got an awfully long way to go, a 10, possibly even 15-year program to recover this species,” says Richad Vigne, chief executive of the conservancy. “We estimate it will cost somewhere in the region of nine-to-10 million dollars.”
Donations will help pay for ongoing research into Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) conducted by institutes in the US, Germany and Japan. If all goes to plan, scientists hope to create a herd of 10 northern white rhinos after five years of IVF treatment.
So far the hulking giant is going down well with Tinder-dom. Users have swiped right in such numbers they crashed the donation website hours after the rhino’s profile went live.
Sudan may weigh 5,000 lbs, but he’s still got it.