SAVING THE WHITE RHINO
The Lower School, joined by pupils from Year 5 and Year 6 were privileged to hear an inspirational talk from the team at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Ol Pejeta is internationally renowned and home to two of the world’s last remaining northern white rhinos.
We heard from James Mwenda, who is the Ranger and Keeper of the northern white rhinos. James is a passionate wildlife ambassador and in recent years has been influencing hundreds of young people on the consequences of the illegal trade in rhino horn, ivory and other endangered species parts, spreading awareness and inspiring a change in attitudes towards conservation and the illegal wildlife trade. His words were eye-opening and gave a first-hand insight into the life of a Ranger, many of whom risk their lives in order to protect the vulnerable species.
Ol Pejeta’s other rhino specialists, the Head of the Volunteer Programme and the Head of Operations also spoke to us about other aspects of the centre’s important work; fertility. There remains some hope for the future of the species in so far as artificially assisted reproduction is a possibility and the future of this species now lies in the development of in vitro fertilisation techniques and stem cell technology. However, as was explained, these procedures are costly and complicated and have never before been attempted in rhinos.
It was clear that our pupils were both moved and inspired by the fate of the white rhino, Tina Yin from Year 7 commented, “We learnt the sad fact that they are only two northern white rhinos left in the entire world. What I found fascinating was that they are breeding different species to make more white rhinos. When I’m older I would definitely love to volunteer to care for the rhinos in Africa.”
Georgia Jukes, Head of Lower School