Sudan the rhino is the only one left of male northern white rhinoceros on Earth. The rest of his family were killed by poachers. Being the only one to have escaped aggression, he is now being protected by armed guard in the Kenya game reserve at all times.
Operation protecting the rhino
Sudan is presently at the OI Pejeta Conservancy with two female rhinos of his own species. He is expected to produce his own offspring when the right time comes. Two other females are being kept in captivity elsewhere. This makes of Sudan the only hope left for white rhinos.
The security measures to protect Sudan have thus been intensified. He is fitted with radio transmitters on top of being guarded. Furthermore, to prevent him from being exploited by greedy poachers, his horn has been removed – sometimes, we have to lose something precious to preserve something more precious; part of one’s body has to be cut off to preserve one’s life.
“The only reason his horn has been cut off is to deter poachers,” Elodie Sampere of the conservancy told The Dodo. “If the rhino has no horn, he is of no interest to poachers. This is purely to keep him safe.”
Decades ago, the situation was nowhere near this drastic. Back in 1960, there were more than 2,000 of northern white rhinos. Their numbers dwindled because of poachers: in less than 25 years from then, there remained only 15 of them (in 1984).
Rangers have been protecting the animals for a while now. Their own lives are in peril. Some poachers will do whatever it takes to get to the booty they seek, and if rangers are in their way, they will get around it, endangering the lives of the rhino protectors as well. Horns are sold at $ 75, 000 per kilogram. Wealth does make people go to extremes.
Simor Irungu, a ranger who is guarding Sudan and other rhinos at Ol Pejeta, has commented on the nature of his work:-
“With the rising demand for rhino horn and ivory, we face many poaching attempts and while we manage to counter a large number of these, we often risk our lives in the line of duty,” Irungu told the website World of Animals.