A rhino named Sudan is being guarded by armed rangers at every moment of the day because he is the last of his kind on Earth. Sudan is the only male of the northern white rhino subspecies remaining, thanks to ruthless poaching that has reached catastrophic levels in recent years. His relatives and ancestors have been slaughtered for their horns, which are sold for huge amounts of money in Asia, where they’re believed to cure a range of ailments.
Fixed with radio transmitters to increase security, Sudan is surrounded by armed rangers at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, who work day and night to keep the 40-year-old Sudan and two female rhinos of his subspecies alive. (There are only two other northern white rhinos in the world, two females also in captivity.)
And they took an extra precaution: removing his horn. “The only reason his horn has been cut off is to deter poachers,” Elodie Sampere, of the conservancy, told The Dodo. “If the rhino has no horn, he is of no interest to poachers. This is purely to keep him safe.”
“With the rising demand for rhino horn and ivory, we face many poaching attempts and while we manage to counter a large number of these, we often risk our lives in the line of duty,” Simor Irungu, a ranger who guards Sudan and other rhinos at the conservancy, said in an interview with UK’s World of Animals.
Sudan and three other rhinos came to the conservancy from a zoo in the Czech Republic in 2009, with the hope of breeding the rhinos in a climate and environment more natural to them. But by 2014, no baby rhinos had been born. The other male rhino, Suni, died at age 34 in October of last year, leaving Sudan and the two females left at the conservancy. Attempts to breed Sudan, the last male breeding rhino of the subspecies in the world, have been unsuccessful.
Surrounded by guards day and night, the conservancy participated in a#RunningForRangers fundraising campaign to help sustain Sudan’s security team.