Ol Pejeta: 5 Years Without Sudan, the World’s Last Male Northern White Rhino

5 Years Gone: Rest in Peace, Sudan

Sudan, photographed above by Kathryn Anderson

It started with an article on a normal April morning in 2015. There, on the front page of a news website was a rhino, surrounded by armed guards. As I read on, I learned this was the last male northern white rhino in the world. His name was Sudan, and he was guarded 24 hours a day at Ol Pejeta Conservancy to ensure his survival. 

The image stopped me in my tracks and changed the course of my life. 

Sudan and his legacy became the catalyst for the creation of Render Loyalty. And while I didn’t get an opportunity to photograph him before his passing on March 19th, 2018, I eventually partnered with Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya and had the pleasure of photographing his daughter, Najin, and granddaughter, Fatu. 

Sadly, they are now the last two remaining northern white rhinos in the world.

As we look back on Sudan’s death five years later, his legacy and the hope for the future of the northern white rhino has only continued to grow in importance. 

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Looking to the Future: New Hope for the Species

Sudan’s daughter and granddaughter, Najin and Fatu, are officially the last two northern white rhinos left on this planet. And, since they’re both female, the only chance of reproduction is through in-vitro fertilization.

Najin and Fatu’s health and survival are key to the success of the BioRescue Project—an ambitious project that spearheads assisted reproductive technologies in an effort to save the northern white rhino. Najin and Fatu’s harvested oocytes will be used to create northern white rhino embryos—which will be inserted into female southern white rhino surrogates. 

To date, the BioRescue Project has created 24 northern white embryos from Najin and Fatu while they remain under 24-hour protection at the Ol Pejeta conservancy. It is hoped these embryos will be the foundation of a new northern white rhino population, eventually destined to step back into their ecological role as keystone grazers in Central Africa.

I am hopeful that these two will indeed become “the mothers” of generations of northern white rhinos to come.

Honoring Sudan: 5 Years of Hope

Today marks 5 years since Sudan’s passing—a powerful reminder of the devastating impact poaching and habitat destruction has on our planet’s precious wildlife. As Ol Pejeta and BioRescue race against the clock to save the northern white rhino, it’s the support of individuals like you that help these organizations do their most effective work. 

Through photography, storytelling, and conservation, we aim to honor the legacy of the northern white rhino, and to bring awareness, from my lens to your home—and out into the world.

Our hope is that the Render Loyalty artwork you proudly display on your walls will evoke powerful conversation, compassion and inspire change for these threatened species. And that it will continue to provide essential support for our dedicated conservation partners and their vital work.

Together, we can make a difference.

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