Out in the vast wilds of Kenya’s southern savanna, the singular remnant of a once wide-ranging subspecies of rhinoceros stands precariously close to the edge of extinction. The Northern White Rhino, which once ranged over much of the central and eastern regions of the African continent, is staring down the barrel of a gun – literally.
Only a single male by the name of Sudan is left in the wild. Luckily, he doesn’t stand alone.
Rangers from the Ol Pejeta Conservancy guard Sudan 24/7 in an desperate effort to protect him from harm.
The conservancy is a 90,000-acre piece of land where the rangers work together with local law enforcement to defend the animals that call it home.
The population of the Northern White Rhino, like all wild rhino species, has been devastated by the black market for their horns.
A horn like Sudan’s can fetch up to $75,000 per kilogram.
There are 5 remaining female northern white rhinos in the wild, but Sudan is the only male left – and so the future of the species depends on his survival.
Poachers are well armed, and so the rangers have to be, too.
They are considering breeding the females with similar subspecies of rhinos, and then breeding that generation back into more pure northern white rhinos.
It is truly heartbreaking to think of how far humanity has pushed these amazing animals, but it is encouraging to know that there are still those who are dedicated to their survival.