What does the Death of Sudan Mean for Laikipia?

Sudan, the last male Northern white rhino

Sudan with his caregiver at the Sanctuary in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia.  Photo: Courtesy/Ol Pejeta Conservancy

This March, the wildlife conservation community and the world mourned the death of 45-year-old Sudan, the last known male Northern White Rhino on earth. In his last days, he suffered a great deal due to age-related complications that had led to degenerative changes in his body.

What does his life and his subsequent death in Laikipia forebode? Is Laikipia destined to become a graveyard for rare and endangered species? Is this where the world’s “last” and “remaining” come to live out their lives?

Sudan’s death has focused the world’s attention on the plight of endangered species – and more specifically on the role that the greater Laikipia landscape plays in wildlife conservation. With 70% of Kenya’s wildlife lost over the last 30 years, and 65% of that remaining wildlife living outside of national parks and reserves, perhaps it’s time to turn our mourning into action on private lands – individual and community.

The wildlife populations in Laikipia are already legend in Kenya. Our wildlife population has largely been maintained over the last 30 years. Several species are at risk, and our biodiversity challenged, but in large part, our wildlife numbers are robust.

Let’s work to keep the greater Laikipia area the best landscape for wildlife conservation, livelihoods and productive land use in the Country.

What could be a more fitting tribute than this to the memory of Sudan?