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Only Six Northern White Rhinos Left, Comeback Almost Impossible

Update Date: Oct 22, 2014 11:35 AM EDT

After a recent death of a northern white rhino in captivity in Kenya, the subspecies is down to just six, according to officials. 

The male rhino, named Suni, died in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya this week and was born more than 30 years ago at Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic. 

The average lifetime of a white rhinoceros is between 40 and 50 years hence Suni's death was somewhat unexpected. The press release added that Suni's father died from natural causes at about the same age. 

"The number of rhinos killed by poachers has increased incredibly in the past few years," Dvur Kralove spokeswoman Jana Mysliveckova told Agence France-Presse. "According to some scenarios, there will be no rhinos left in the wild in Africa in 10 years or so."

"One can always believe in miracles but everything leads us to believe that hope they would reproduce naturally has gone,"

According to experts, Suni "was probably the last male capable of breeding."

"We will continue to do what we can to work with the remaining three animals on Ol Pejeta," the reserve said in a statement, "in the hope that our efforts will one day result in the successful birth of a northern white rhino calf."

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