How best can one preserve a memory? Tragically, that’s all Sudan now is, the last northern white rhino male in the world, who died in March 2018. Over 45 years, he came to represent the consequence of human greed and selfishness. His lonely, massive, good-natured bulk a heartbreaking reminder of the worst side of human nature. All those who were lucky enough to meet him came to love him, and he inspired an army of conservationists, environmentalists and activists in all of us.
Ol Pejeta and Helping Rhinos approached celebrated wildlife artist Karen Laurence-Rowe, who had spent a lot of time on Ol Pejeta, observing and drawing rhinos, and asked her if she might paint a portrait of Sudan that would stand the test of time. Karen, herself a dedicated conservationist, accepted the request and renewed her commitment to protecting rhinos and spreading awareness through art.
“When Sudan died, I was profoundly and deeply saddened ... for his carers who will have felt the loss so very deeply, for the planet that has pretty much lost yet another species and, for mankind who has yet to see the errors of his ways.
“I don’t know if we will ever see another northern white rhino male walk this earth again,” said Karen, “and I can only wish the vet teams on Ol Pejeta Conservancy and beyond every success with their efforts to breed one. I do know however, that I am moved to continue the fight in protecting the rest of the rhino species and truly hope that the loss of this gentle soul will move others in the same way.”
Karen has produced an exceptionally lovely watercolour, an accurate and moving representation of a dearly beloved rhino. Prints of the painting are for sale on helpingrhinos.org. Every sale will raise funds for rhino conservation on Ol Pejeta. The painting itself will be up for auction at the annual joint Ol Pejeta and Helping Rhinos fundraising event in 2018.
Ol Pejeta remains extremely grateful to Karen for all her efforts in support of rhino conservation, and for the watercolour as a wonderful tribute to Sudan’s memory. “I do hope Sudan will live on in our hearts, his legacy to act as a constant reminder of the fragility of the planet and I commend this stunning artwork to everyone who wants a truly wonderful memory to cherish and who want to help make a difference.”
“Sudan” is a watercolour open edition printed on 320gsm Archival Fine Art A3 Paper (279mm x 420mm), priced £37.50 / $50.00 / KSh5,000 plus P&P.
If you’d like to know more about the pioneering developments in rhino assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs), please follow this link.