The world's last male northern white rhinoceros died in March this year, leaving behind only two females from the subspecies. The 45-year-old rhino named Sudan, who lived in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, surrounded by armed guards, was euthanised after his condition worsened due to health issues.
Rhinos are poached for their horns, which are used as an integral component in traditional medicines and is believed to have several magical properties.
Another subspecies of the gentle giants are at the brink of extinction. The black rhinos are categorised as critically endangered by IUCN Red List. The situation also worsened after the western black rhinos became extinct in 2011.
National Geographic has shared a heart-warming picture on Instagram on June 15. The picture shows black rhino Kilifi nuzzling its keeper Kamara. The Kenyan rhino keeper has raised Kilifi along with two other baby rhinos at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in the East African country.
Rhinos often grow a special bond with their keeper. After Sudan died, James Mwenda, a conservationist who cared for took to Facebook to share a heartfelt message: "Good bye Sudan,I don't need to say it here that I loved you.you know it well from all the talks and the moments we had together,being with you for the last few years completely changed me,and as you taught me daily I continued to teach and inspire my fellow humans to be conscious and sensitive of our environment.i promised to be your voice(I ain't sure whether I duly and diligently fulfilled that) but I did my best," he wrote.
The photograph of Kilifi was shared in the celebration of the 2018 National Geographic Explorers Festival, which brings together scientists, conservationists, explorers, and storytellers from around the world to share their discoveries, insights, and solutions for creating a more sustainable future, according to the post on Instagram.
Check out the picture here:
Photo by @amivitale. Kamara, a Kenyan rhino keeper is nuzzled by black rhino Kilifi who he hand-raised along with two other baby rhinos at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (@lewa_wildlife) in Kenya. Kamara spends 12 hours every day watching over the vulnerable baby rhinos. If you went back 50 years, this is where one of the densest populations of black rhinos lived, but today most people living here have never seen a rhino in their life despite it being the most perfect habitat for them. In two generations, this animal was poached almost to extinction. These communities and people like Kamara hold the key to saving Africa's great animals. | These images are being shared in celebration of the 2018 National Geographic Explorers Festival, which brings together innovative scientists, conservationists, explorers, and storytellers from around the world to share their discoveries, insights, and solutions for creating a more sustainable future. To showcase the work of this community, @Cara_Santa_Maria —an award-winning science journalist, the creator of the popular podcast “Talk Nerdy,” and a correspondent on National Geographic’s Explorer television program—has selected six images from photographers who are also National Geographic Explorers. Learn more about the Explorers Festival and watch a livestream at natgeo.com.
In the captions, National Geographic also talked about the horrible condition for these animals, which have fallen victim to human green from time immemorial: "If you went back 50 years, this is where one of the densest populations of black rhinos lived, but today most people living here have never seen a rhino in their life despite it being the most perfect habitat for them. In two generations, this animal was poached almost to extinction. "
Kilifi also, unfortunately, had an untimely death. The two-year-old baby black was killed by a lethal infection caused by bacteria clostridium perfringens in 2015.
"Kilifi died in the early morning, leading to the conclusion that the infection had spread at night as the baby rhino slept. Despite our vet's greatest efforts, the rhino succumbed to the effects of endotoxin. This infection is the first case ever recorded on Lewa," Mike Watson, CEO of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Isiolo, eastern Kenya.
The adorable picture of Kilifi and Kamara has garnered more 240, 000 likes, at the time of writing the article. While one user writes, "I can see LOVE in their eyes... ", another person commented, "This is so beautiful...respect"