“There is nothing like comfort when you lose something you love”, says James, a wildlife ranger at OlPejeta Conservancy. Together with Joseph; the two rangers play a starring role in ‘Kifaru’ a new award-winning documentary film about ‘Sudan’ the last northern white Rhino who died last year.
Coupled with some strong individual performances, “Kifaru” depicts a devout ranger and the perils that come with wildlife conservation, especially for Rhino Species; noting that Rhino horn is a lucrative business more so in the black markets of Asia, where a kilo can fetch up to Seven Million Shillings.
But with increasing twenty-four surveillance, the bad guys have devised grisly techniques to evade detection, where they will normally dart rhinos with tranquilizers and then quietly hack off a chunk of its face to pull out the horn.
Over the last three decades, the northern white rhino species has been severely poached out of existence, creating a genetic bottleneck. The death of ‘Sudan’ last year marked the end of the northern white Rhino Species.
“Sudan never asked for this; to be labeled the last of his kind, it was political instability, greed, corruption, traditions, and beliefs that made him the last northern white rhino,” says James.
Throughout the film, James and his crew describe the Joy and hardships that come with conservation; from the eyes a ranger; the unsung heroes’ in the frontline of wildlife conservation.
“Poachers don’t give damn whether the animal is male or female, or whether it was expectant, they just kill it, it’s a horrible scène when you see it fast hand,” James says.
James argues that each one of us has a role to play when it comes to wildlife conservation.
“We cannot single out only those who are involved in taking care of these animals, we all have a hand in this. We have the sole responsibility to make the world a better place” he says.
After the death of Sudan, Najin & Fatu are now the only remaining Northern white Rhino species but they are both females who have been deemed reproductively unviable. But scientists are inching closer to revive these species in the middle of a looming extinction.
In September, scientists announced that the eggs harvested from Najin and Fatu had successfully been artificially inseminated with frozen sperm from a northern white bull, resulting in embryos that will now be carried by a surrogate, Southern White mother.
This is quite some crazy, sciency stuff but James and his crew are delighted at the possibilities of reviving the northern white species.
After success in London, “Kifaru” will hopefully offer Kenyan viewers some insights of what it takes and what it means to be in the front lines of conservation – all shot in retina-searing colors.