The Northern White Rhino could be in very close danger of extinction as the last surviving male is now under the care of armed guards in Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy. This stunning species has been under threat from illegal poachers and the 43 year old male White Rhino is now the race’s last and final hope for survival. Different from Black Rhinos, the White Rhino can be differentiated by their larger heads and longer necks, and they also have a square lip in comparison to Southern White Rhinos. The Southern White Rhino has been a major conservation success (although rare in numbers) and can still be seen in Namibia – so we hope and pray for similar success in Kenya.
The Last Surviving Male Moved to Kenya
Moved from a zoo in the Czech Republic to Ol Pejeta in Kenya back in 2009, the last surviving male is now the species’ last hope for breeding. The 43 year old rhino, named Sudan, has been stripped of his horn for his own safety. But even with his prized ivory removed, there is still much fear that poachers will approach him anyway. So armed guards now risk their lives to protect him at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, day in and day out. With 24 hour protection, it is hoped that Sudan will breed with one of the Conservancy’s female rhinos to carry on the bloodline of this beautiful race.
One of the guards, Mohamed Doyo speaks out to the The Guardian and expresses the pressures of his job to the press. He patrols part of the 90,000 acre land in Kenya’s Laikipia County every night and puts his life on the line to protect Sudan from what he refers to as “unimaginable human greed”.
Ol Pejeta’s Successful Breeding Projects
Ol Pejeta was selected as the home for Sudan due to its past success with breeding and conservation projects – and as we have seen success in the South, we hope to see the same thing happen with Sudan and the Northern White Rhinos. With an average life span of around 50 years, the 43 year old male has less than a decade to breed.
Just over half a century ago, more than 2,000 Northern White Rhinos roamed free but by the 80s, poachers had reduced that number dramatically to only 15. With the help and determination of conservationists, we saw that number double by the 90s. But today, conservationists fight a losing battle as the death of the only other male rhino occurred last year, putting the final pressure on Sudan alone.
Seeing Rhinos in Africa
Both Black Rhinos and White Rhinos are in danger of being hunted illegally; it’s a sad reality from the act of cruel humans. We commend the bravery of those who put their lives on the line to intercept Sudan’s poachers and wish the Kenyan Conservancy luck in fighting the battle against illegal hunting.
If you would like to see the rare rhinos of Africa, we urge you to do it soon at the Desert Rhino Camp in Namibia. We also urge everyone to help make this breeding programme a success by sponsoring the Ol Pejeta Camp online; making a small donation could make a huge difference.