5 min read

Meet The Last Male Rhino Of His Kind On The Planet

<p>Lengai101 / <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ceratotherium_simum_cottoni_-Ol_Pejeta_Conservancy,_Kenya.jpg" target="_blank">Wikimedia Commons</a> (<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en" target="_blank">CC BY 3.0</a>)</p>

Imagine as a male being the last of your kind: you, two females, and a handful of other creatures surrounding you. This is the life of Sudan, the last male northern white rhino on the planet.

At the ripe age of 42, this old-timer is spending the last of his days at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. He is a calm and relaxed old rhino, who enjoys the company of Mohammed and Esagon, his keepers who care for him around the clock. He responds to their voices and their presence is extremely calming to him.

Mohammed and Esagon with Sudan. Photo courtesy of Ol Pejeta Conservancy

His days are spent alternating between his own enclosure and a larger area with both Fatu and Najin, the two females. When in their presence, he seems to prefer time with Najin.

Where most white rhinos are munching on grass, this is not his favorite; as he prefers lucerne (alfalfa), carrots, bananas and pellets. And why not? As the one and only of his kind, shouldn't he get his favorites?

His relaxation and comfort only waver with an unfamiliar person's scent in his presence or when he is startled, like being approached from behind. Like many animals, the unfamiliar agitates him.

Sudan munching on one of his lesser favorites-grass. Photo courtesy of Ol Pejeta Conservancy

These are his days - fed, secure, cared for until the end. But the end is coming too soon. And the end of Sudan symbolized the extinction of the Northern White Rhinos.

October 2014: Suni, the male at Ol Pejeta died at 34.

December 2014: Angalifu, the male at San Diego died at 44.

With both Najin (18) and Fatu (29) getting on in age, they too are living in an hourglass, the sands of time the only enemy that rivals a poacher.

The heartbreak and loneliness we feel for him ... his fate making him unique; does he feel it? Does he on some level know he is different? As Ol Pejeta states:

There's no way to truly ascertain this. But we try to the extent that is possible to ensure that he is not alone. He is always in the company of his keepers or his sister rhinos, Najin and Fatu.

Ol Pejeta is caring for these precious rhinos, as well as being the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. Fight for Rhinos supports their efforts. To help, please donate to Fight for Rhinos or to Ol Pejeta's Running for Rhinos campaign.

For more on the northern whites: "Watching the Sun Set on a Species" and "What Happened to the Northern Whites?"