Northern White Rhinos

  • northern white rhino on Ol Pejeta
  • northern white rhino on Ol Pejeta

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On December 20th, 2009, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy welcomed four special new arrivals to the conservancy. Najin, Fatu, Sudan and Suni are four of the world’s last remaining seven northern white rhinos. All 4 were were translocated from Dvur Kralove Zoo, which up until late 2009, had been their home in the Czech Republic.

The transfer was aimed at providing the rhinos with the most favourable breeding conditions in an attempt to pull the species back from the verge of extinction. It is thought that the climatic, dietary and security conditions that the rhinos enjoy at Ol Pejeta will provide them with higher chances of starting a population in what is seen as the very last lifeline for the species.

After much organisation from all partners involved in the translocation exercise, the rhinos were finally on their way by air. The transfer marked the highlight of the "Last Chance to Survive", a project by the joint efforts of the Dvur Králové Zoo, Fauna and Flora International, Back to Africa, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

  • northern white rhino on Ol Pejeta
  • northern white rhino on Ol Pejeta
  • northern white rhino on Ol Pejeta

The Beginning of their story:

Being home to 106 black rhinos and 23 southern white rhinos, Ol Pejeta, which is East Africa’s Largest Black Rhino Sanctuary, has been assessed to be the best possible location for the northern white rhino's breeding project. Besides its proximity to the northern white rhino’s environmental stronghold, Ol Pejeta also offers well qualified and experienced staff to care for these species.


The rhinos diet was initially kept similar to what the received in the zoo, mixing Czech pellets with hay. Slowly introducing the African pellets, apples, carrots and bananas. Freshly cut grass has been combined with hay to introduce the local grass into their diets and to get them familiar to what they will be grazing on once released.

The first few weeks saw some much needed rain at the conservancy, the rhinos soon made mud wallows and enjoyed cooling down in their bomas. They all have adapted well to the climate change, having had heated sheds before and daily outings in the cold, snowy Czech Republic.

Behavioural changes have also been observed especially with their feeding patterns. As naturally nocturnal active creatures, the rhinos have adapted so now feed increasingly at night where it is quietist and then feel safest and cooler.

Find Out More:

northern white rhino on Ol Pejeta
Photo credits: Michael Dalton Smith (x2), Elodie Sampere, Batian Craig