Whilst volunteering at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, I had the privilege of meeting the last two known Nothern White Rhinos in the world – Najin and Fatu. These special ladies are the daughter and granddaughter of the late Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino, who sadly passed away in March this year.
Najin and Fatu, along with the other Black and Southern White Rhinos on the Conservancy, are under 24-hour armed guard. The biggest threat to them is being poached for their horn, which is sold in the illegal wildlife trade and used either as a status symbol or in traditional Chinese medicine. Rhino horn is made of keratin (the same material as our hair and fingernails) and there is absolutely no scientific evidence that Rhino horn has any medicinal value to humans. The sale of these horns is fuelled through misguided consumer beliefs, vulnerable individuals, and international crime gangs who want to make money regardless of the cost to the animals and the natural world. The rarer Rhinos become, the more money that can be made from the sale of their horn.
From my time at the conservancy I was able to meet people who are risking their lives every single day fighting for the safety of these animals. I would particularly like to thank @jemu_mwenda for taking the time to talk to me, for introducing me to the ladies, and for dedicating your life to speaking on behalf of those who cannot. Sudan’s legacy is safe with you.
The fate of the Northern White Rhinos depends on the success of artificially assisted reproduction technologies, that will hopefully see a new Northern White Rhino being carried to term by a Southern White surrogate. These technologies have never been attempted in Rhinos before, and as you can imagine are complicated and significantly expensive. If you have any interest in helping to save this subspecies from extinction, I encourage you to visit the ‘Make a Rhino’ GoFundMe page and donate to the cause. And if you’re ever in Kenya, visit Ol Pejeta! I can’t recommend it highly enough 🦏❤️