“Once they are gone, they are gone forever.”
Image by: Ami Vitale—National Geographic Creative
“It is with great sadness I must announce that Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino, has passed away yesterday, March 19th, on Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. He was a great ambassador to endangered species around the world, and was loved by all who knew him.
I first met Sudan in 2014. I reached out to him with a handful of fresh grass in my palm and his whole being lit up like an excited little boy. What struck me about him in that moment was his achingly beautiful simplicity. He had no agenda, no grand desire, no ill will towards anyone, wholly unaware of what he represented as the last male of his species. What made him happy was to munch on his favourite plants all day, and take naps in the shade. It is an overwhelming notion that these peaceful, sensitive animals are going extinct because of human indifference, cruelty and greed.
His passing marks an irreversible milestone in the history of life on Earth and it is imperative for us to recognize that Sudan’s story is not an isolated incident. His story is representative to what is happening to our entire planet from an ecological perspective. Thousands of iconic species are on the brink of irreversible extinction as a direct result of human destruction of nature on our planet, our only home. I hope everyone reading this can take today in quiet contemplation of the implications of this, and think about what our place is in the grand solution for the future of our world. Only 2 Northern White Rhinos remain on the planet now; Sudan’s daughter Najin and granddaughter Fatu. “