It is not often that we get to see magic in the world, but on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, mythical beasts still roam free. The conservancy is home to the last three Northern White Rhinos, and the moving photo below shows how awe-inspiring they are in person. While this boy was lucky enough to witness these majestic creatures first hand, he may be one of the last people to do so.
Northern White Rhinos have been hunted to extinction because their horns are a highly valued substance in some disciplines of traditional Asian medicine. It should be noted that there is no scientific evidence that rhino horns have any medicinal properties, in fact, they are primarily composed of keratin – the same stuff our hair and fingernails are made of. But because of this misconception, rhinos have been mercilessly poached and butchered for their horns. The last wild Northern White Rhinos were killed by poachers in 2006 and while there were 2,000 White Rhinos living in Africa in the 1960s, there are now only three left living in the world – under the strict protection of wildlife rangers.
This stunning image, from photographer James Suter, captures the wonder and humility that comes with seeing one of the last remaining members of this species.
But Northern White Rhinos are not the only of their species in danger, poachers kill three rhinos every day and sell their horns as part of the illegal wildlife trade. The moving video below records the entire encounter between a young boy and on of the rhinos The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is struggling to protect.
There are currently well over 4,500 species on the endangered list. These animals entire existence is treated by human industry and illegal poaching. If we do not do something to change our current lifestyle, it is estimated that humans will be responsible for the extinction of 50 percent of the species on the planet by 2100. We have already lost 58 percent of the species of wildlife in the past few decades alone.
This industry has grown to account for one billion dollars of profit for the cruel people who participate in it. This industry is fueled by human indifference and greed but is symptomatic of a larger issue. Scientists worry that we may be in the midst of the world’s sixth mass extinction event, all caused by human actions.
We can help to stop this by educating our friends and family on this topic. Share this article and help to get the word out about how we are affecting these animals. You can also support the Ol Pejeta Conservancy as they fight to protect the last Northern White Rhinos by donating to the organization on their website.
Image source: James Suter/Instagram