Photo Credit: Georgina Goodwin Barcroft Media via Daily Mail
Sudan, the last male northern white rhino living on earth, is dying. He’s living out his last years under armed guard to keep him safe from poachers at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. It was hoped that he might be able to father an offspring before passing away, but at 42, his back legs are weakening and his sperm count is lowering, which means the chances of the rhinobeing able to mount a female and sire more offspring diminishes daily.
While that is certainly sad news for his species, and our planet, the rare rhino has developed a rather amazing bond with his guard that was revealed in recent footage. Almost like an enormous dog, Sudan is said to highly enjoy the playful friendship he has with his constant companions.
One of Sudan’s guards told The Dodo, “When we call his name, he will respond by coming. Sudan feels comfortable when he is being scratched under the belly and behind the ears and he feels very relaxed.”
The magnificent creature has a pretty incredible life story too. Captured as a young rhino in the wild, he spent 35 years in captivity at a Czech Republic zoo before he was brought to Ol Pejeta to live out his days in his natural environment.
Armed guard John Mugo spends his days in the paddock with the remaining rhinos, Sudan and his two female companions, Fatu and Najin, carrying a G3A3 assault rifle. He told the Daily Mail, “Sudan is special because he’s the last one of his kind surviving in the whole universe. We guard Sudan 24-hours a day around the clock to protect him from poaching.
“He’s under threat because of his horn, we use guns to ensure the security of the rhinos.”
The guards change shift at 6 in the morning and 6 at night, ensuring the endangered animals are protected at all times, but once Sudan is gone, there is no hope for this northern white subspecies of rhino.