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Photo of the last male northern white rhino ranked best by National Geographic

Sudan died aged 45 in 2018

Wildlife ranger Joseph Wachira comforts Sudan, the last living male northern white rhino, as he laid dying at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya in March 2018. PHOTOGRAPH BY AMI VITALE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Fans of National Geographic have ranked a photo of Sudan, the last living male northern white rhino being comforted by wildlife ranger Joseph Wachira as their favourite photo of all time.

The image captured by American photojournalist Ami Vitale was taken in March 2018 at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Nanyuki.

The stunning image shows Sudan visibly exhausted lying next to Wachira. “He died surrounded by people who loved him,” wrote Vitale. She added that she hoped that Sudan's legacy “will awaken us to protect this magnificent and fragile planet.”

Sudan was a captive northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum suti) who lived at the Dvor Krolov Zoo in the Czech Republic from 1955 but spent the rest of his life in Ol Pejeta.

At the time of his death, he was one of the three most northern white rhinoceros in the world and the last known male of his subspecies.

His death left only two females, his daughter and granddaughter of the subspecies alive in the world.

Sudan, who was the equivalent of 90 in human years, was the last surviving male of the rarer variety after the natural death of a second male in late 2014.

The image by Vitale was one of ten images rated by National Geographic as reader favorites to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their Instagram account.

On Saturday, National Geographic became the first brand to reach over 200 million followers on Instagram, a feat which they say has gotten them nearly 82 billion impressions.

"Overall, we’ve posted more than 26,000 stunning images taken by more than a hundred photographers. These images capture the beauty and wonder of the world we live in and the creatures that inhabit it," read a statement in part.

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