In 2018, Sudan, the last remaining northern white rhino passed away of natural causes at the Ol Pejeta conservancy in Laikipia County, Kenya thus ending the existence of their subspecies.
Not far from Sudan’s grave lives Fatu and Najin (mother and daughter), the last known living northern white rhinos on the planet. A loss of habitat and poaching of their valuable horns to be sold off in the black market for traditional eastern medicinal purposes bound for countries such as China, South Korea, and Vietnam has led to the demise of their species.
Fatu and Najin live in a large gated and protected area where they are free to roam and are monitored 24 hours a day by Ol Pejeta’s caretakers and armed NPR (National Police Reservists).
The caretakers feed and look after them along with educating visitors about their plight. The NPR patrols the 360 square kilometer conservancy around the clock looking for signs of poachers. They patrol the bush throughout the night amongst wild and sometimes dangerous animals. In 2018, they had an encounter with three poachers and a gun fight ensued, resulting in the death of all 3 poachers.
The protectors and caretakers all live in small bush camp within eyesight of Fatu and Najin. They live away from their families where they work 20 days on and 6 days off at the conservancy. They take tremendous pride and honor in their work and these heroes sacrifice so much for these animals, this is their story.
If you’d like to donate to Ol Pejeta and help support their amazing efforts for animal conservation please click here.
This is part of a larger personal project highlighting people around the world doing amazing deeds for animal welfare and animal conservation.
About the Author
Since arriving in Vietnam over a decade ago, Justin Mott has established himself as one of the best-known and well-respected photographers in Southeast Asia. He has shot over 100 assignments for the New York Times while a collection of his work in Vietnam has been featured on the BBC. Additional major editorial clients include TIME, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian among many others. His boutique visual production studio Mott Visuals specializes in premium commercial photography and video production. Mott is also familiar to TV viewers as host and resident judge of History Channel’s hit photography reality series Photo Face-Off now entering their 4th Season.