This week brought sad news, with the death of the last male northern white rhino in Kenya. At 45, Sudan was not an old rhino, but was in ill health and was euthanized on March 19th 2018 after a leg infection in his rear leg left him unable to stand.
He lived his life in captivity, alongside his daughter and granddaughter, who are now the only remaining white rhino’s in the world. As with other species on the brink of decline, Sudan’s species has fallen foul of human greed, namely poaching where rhino horn used to fetch up to $65,000 per kilo.
This week I watched as all of my social media pages started to mourn his death. Photos of Sudan appeared everywhere; with comments about how terrible we are as humans, but why did this outcry only occur after the death of the last white rhino?
Sudan had spent 43 of his 45 years in captivity. Firstly captured by animal trappers from his namesake Sudan at the age of just two, he and two other rhinos were shipped to a zoo in the Czech republic to become part of an African animal display. While here, he successfully fathered two daughters.
In 2009 he was moved to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy where it was hoped he could breed again (he didn’t) and live out his days. But even here, under 24 hour guards, poachers still attempted attacks on him, resulting in his horn being removed to prevent this. What a terrible life Sudan had! Completely, one hundred per cent man made.
I don’t understand what we should do? We sit and watch David Attenborough’s shows in awe, his underlying message of conservation spewing through our speakers, but nothing changes. Ricky Gervais has a different approach; his sarcastic, in your face posts gather likes and comments, but still nothing changes. And recently Richard Branson, his call for arms over the disturbing decline of the Orangutan’s and rainforests, popular on social media for a day or two, then what?
These are powerful people with big platforms but it seems as humans we will listen only as long as the information remains in our news feed, after that we just move on with our days.
I’m sorry we let Sudan down, that he lived his life never knowing the endless plains of Africa. Not able to choose his own mate and breed in the wild. I am sorry that we mourned his death this week, but forgot his 43 years in captivity.
We must learn from this, for our animals, for our world and most of all for our children.
We can do better
Sue - www.hellopongo.com