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  • Writer's pictureAngie Raab

Facing extinction

Updated: Jun 18, 2021

"When we lose an animal species to extinction, we lose part of our family!"

Kenya. The home of the last of the Northern white rhinos. Mountains, savannah, wild places and endless skies. We landed in Nairobi late afternoon and spent a night at the Intercontinental- a fortress and oasis within the bustling city of 24 hrs rush hour, bright colors, full of sound and sights and people- everywhere. The next day we started the long journey to Ol' Pejeta to face extinction, to see it with our own eyes, to touch it and to tell its story. Extinction has a name: Sudan. Najin. Fatu. It was a warm, sunny day when we stepped foot into Sudan's fenced in area- his little friend Ringo, who almost ran us over in all his excitement (I think he thought we brought milk) was getting entertained by his caretaker outside while we looked into the eye of an ancient creature, the last male of his species. Listening to the ranger singing softly to him while rubbing him down with mud and walking beside him was heartbreaking. The last one. Humanity failed him. I felt humbled beyond words. I don't think I will ever be able to put my feelings into words, even now. Meeting Sudan was definitely one of the most defining moments in my life, especially on this journey of exploring my passion and finding my way - I wanted to do more, I just did not know what back then Najin and Fatu are the two last females. They were roaming a big enclosure with a view of mountains and endless sky, happily greeting us (and a basket full of carrots), pushing towards the 4x4. Two big, beautiful grey "tanks" on four legs. I ended up walking among them as they were soaking up the attention (while chewing carrots) and getting gentle rubs and quiet words. On the other side of the fenceline, rangers waved at us, starting their evening patrols, walking into a setting sun and a view of snow covered Mount Kenya. That night we watched the full moon rise, got ambushed by hyenas while trying to capture the night sky and ended up protecting our food from curious jackals. You can never dwell too much. Life in the bush.

(photos: kimberly wood, bog photography)

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