Read the touching tribute from James Mwenda, carer of Sudan, the last male northern white rhino
- Sudan died in March 2018 aged 45. His subspecies was destroyed due to greed and ignorance
- One of his guards, Mwenda, shares his grief in this touching eulogy
“Good bye Sudan, I don’t need to say it here that I loved you. You know it well from all the talks and the moments we had together, being with you for the last few years completely changed me, and as you taught me daily I continued to teach and inspire my fellow humans to be conscious and sensitive of our environment. I promised to be your voice (I ain’t sure whether I duly and diligently fulfilled that) but I did my best.
When I look back, In my years of taking care of you, my sadness and the essence of losing you is overcome by a contentment that I gave you all the best. Sudan I don’t regret anything as deep within my heart I gave you everything.
What I regret most is whether my fellow humanity has learned from your existence. I tried as much to help them hear you through my thoughts and the lessons I learned through our personal day to day life, though still my voice has been small, I have testimonies that you have left an imprint in the hearts of many especially those I interacted with.
If I was powerful in the face of earth and conservation world April 19 would be “Sudan, the legend day”, a day when parents should take their kids out and teach them how and why we need to embrace the environment. A day where a photo of Sudan could be presented in a classroom and the kids could draw him, so that they are conscious of extinction and what Sudan’s existence meant. A day we could ask those we know what they knew about the environment.
I never expected to hear a thank you from you, no rewards, no clapping for congratulations, no job well done words, and no praise for it. Sometimes the commitment, sacrifice and love of an animal can only be know by the animal, God and the caretaker only.
All I can ask you is your blessing buddy, that blessing means everything to me, old as you were I celebrate your live well lived.
On the other side of life. Greet Lola, Saut, Nasima, Nabire and the rest of the rhinos, tell them that some humans still uphold the madness that rhino horn is a cure, but there are others that still are fighting for your future.
The big question is what does Sudan’s existence and his death mean to you? Let us all propose to learn.
I will try my best to honour all that we talked about and live for what you have taught me.”