Speaking at the official handing over of Sudan’s taxidermy to the National Museums of Kenya Headquarters today, Hon. Peninah Malonza, the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, stressed on the importance of joining hands in the recovery efforts of the Northern White Rhinos (NWR).
“It is a sober moment that we are here to receive the taxidermy of Sudan, which was the last Northern White Rhino male, therefore we have to take necessary steps to save the species from extinction,” said CS Malonza.
She added that, the Government, through the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, will continue to provide the necessary resources and policy guidance to mitigate the current threats to the species.
“As a country, we continue to partner with Biorescue- a consortium of local and international scientists and conservationists to save the Northern White rhinos from extinction using innovative technologies,” said Malonza.
Currently, there are only 2 Northern White Rhinos females, Najin and Fatu, left in the world to carry the hope of the species.
The NWR assisted reproduction project for the recovery of the species based at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Laikipia County, being undertaken in collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), ZOO Dvůr Králové (Czech Republic), Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Germany) Avantea Laboratory (Italy), Osaka University (Japan) and Wildlife Research and Training institute (WRTI) has made great milestones.
12 ovum pick up missions have been undertaken since 2019 with 24 NWR embryos developed. The embryos are now preserved in a laboratory waiting for optimization of the embryo transfer technology in wild living southern white surrogates whose success will be the first of its kind.
“While Sudan’s taxidermy is some prized wildlife memorabilia, it also serves as a constant reminder to the Government and partners that supporting the conservation of our key species remains at the top of our mandate,” said Malonza.
Sudan’s taxidermy will be displayed at a location which will be accessible to Kenyans and the global community and appropriate messages provided to ensure Sudan continues to play his ambassadorial role for the species even in death.
Despite the challenges experienced over the years, rhino poaching has been managed and positive growth rates achieved with the national rhino population estimated at 1890 as at the end of 2022, (966 black, 922 southern white and 2 northern white rhinos).
Also present were: the 2 Chief Administrative Secretaries in the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, Hon. Wilson Sossion and Hon. Rehema Jaldesa, the Ambassador of Czech Republic to Kenya, Martin Klepetko, the Principal Secretary State Department for Wildlife, Silvia Museiya, the Principal Secretary State Department for Culture, Ummi Bashir, Chairperson KWS Board of Trustees, Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Walter Koipaton, Ag. Director General KWS, Dr. Erustus Kanga, Ag. Director General National Museums of Kenya, Stanvas Ongalo, among other dignitaries.