A northern white rhino that officials state was just one of six left in the world has died, bringing the species closer to the brink of extinction.

Angalifu, who was about 44 years old, apparently died of old age on Sunday (December 14) at the San Diego Zoo safari park.

His death leaves just one northern white rhino at the zoo, a female named Nola.

The remaining five of the rare species are living at a zoo in the Czech Rebulic and in a preserve in Kenya.

Safari park curator Randy Rieches said in a statement: “Angalifu’s death is a tremendous loss to all of us.

“Not only because he was well beloved here at the park but also because his death brings this wonderful species one step closer to extinction.”

The species has been a victim of poaching as rhino horns are believed to be an aphrodisiac and are valued dagger handles. While in captivity, attempts to mate Angalifu with Nola were unsuccessful.

Preservationists at the Ol Pejeta animal sanctuary in Kenya recently conceded that their one male and two female northern white rhinos will not reproduce naturally.

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