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One of the world's seven remaining northern white rhinos has died in Kenya, bringing the famed African species one step closer to extinction, a wildlife conservancy said.
While there are thousands of southern white rhinos still roaming the plains of sub-Saharan Africa, decades of rampant poaching have drastically cut northern white rhino numbers.
Suni, a 34-year-old who was the first northern white rhino to be born in captivity, was found dead by rangers at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, about 250 km (155 miles) north of Nairobi.
The conservancy said Suni was not poached, but the cause of his death was unclear. It added that he was one of the last two breeding males in the world as no northern white rhinos are believed to have survived in the wild.
"Consequently the species now stands at the brink of complete extinction, a sorry testament to the greed of the human race," the conservancy said in a statement.
More than 1,000 rhinos were illegally killed in South Africa last year, a 50 per cent increase on the previous year, according to official figures.
The South African Department of Environmental Affairs said 1,004 rhinos were poached in 2013 - compared to 668 killed for their horn in 2012.
South African officials also revealed that there was a rise in the number of rhino poachers arrested during 2013. Last year, 343 alleged poachers were arrested, up from 267 in 2012. There have been six arrests so far this year.
Conservation experts have warned that the rise in poaching, to meet demand for rhino horn in China and Vietnam in particular, brings South Africa's white rhino population closer to the "tipping point" where deaths will outnumber births and the population will go into serious decline.