The short film Remembering Sudan documents the heartbreaking crisis facing the northern white rhinos and keepers like Zacharia Mutai, on Ol Pejeta Conservancy, who sacrifice so much to protect them.
After Sudan’s death in 2018, only two northern white rhinos remain, both females. Through Zacharia’s story, Vitale explores efforts to protect these rhinos as well as the groundbreaking scientific developments aimed at bringing the species back.
How did we arrive at the point where such desperate measures were necessary? It’s astonishing that a demand for rhino horn based entirely on misinformation has caused the wholesale slaughter of a species. At the same time, it is encouraging that a disparate group of people have come together in an attempt to save something unique and precious, something that if not saved, will be gone forever.
Film Run-Time: 11 minutes
Available Streaming Only
Every step of this mission is uncharted scientific territory, but every step we are reminded of Sudan, his life and legacy spurs us on with hope.
I'm the voice of these voiceless animals. They don't speak, but I speak out on their behalf.
Our fate is linked to the fate of animals. Without rhinos and other wildlife we suffer more than loss of ecosystem health. We suffer a loss of imagination, aloss of wonder, a loss of beautiful possibilities.
We are honoured to have Ami Vitale further elevate our story to save a species.
If I was a powerful force on earth and in the conservation world, 19th March 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.
The Last Northern White Rhinos
Fourteen years ago, there was a bold plan to airlift four of the last Northern White Rhinos from a zoo in the Czech Republic back to Africa. It sounded like a storyline for a Disney film but in reality, it was a desperate attempt to save an entire species.
At the time, there were only eight of the rhinos known to be in existence, all living in captivity. It seemed so unfair that we have reduced an entire species to this.
These majestic creatures had survived for millions of years on this planet but could not survive us, mankind.
Today, only two remain - Najin and Fatu, the daughter and grandaughter of Sudan, who live at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in northern Kenya.
Yet hope is not lost. Learn more about the bold plan orchastrated by the BioRescue Project when you rent the film
"I'm the voice of these voiceless animals. They don't speak, but I speak out on their behalf." -Zacharia Mutai
The Ol Pejeta Story
Ol Pejeta Conservancy was home to Sudan, the last male northern white rhino. Living under the shadow of Mount Kenya, he taught the world about extinction and continues to inspire Ol Pejeta’s efforts.
As the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa and home to the last two northern white rhinos on the planet, it plays a crucial role in the conservation of these critically endangered animals.
Ol Pejeta also supports local communities through community outreach, scholarship programs, and sustainable agriculture initiatives.
"A disparate group of people have come together in an attempt to save something unique and precious, something that if not saved, will be gone forever." -Ami Vitale
The BioRescue Project
Thanks to a bold plan orchestrated by the BioRescue Project, there are now 24 northern white rhino embryos made from oocytes of Fatu and genetic material from deceased males. They will be transferred into a surrogate southern white rhino mother in the near future. If they are able to bring this species back, it will also mean hope for other species on the brink of extinction.
"Every step of this mission is uncharted scientific territory, but every step we are reminded of Sudan, his life and legacy spurs us on with hope." -Thomas Hildebrandt
About Ol Pejeta Keeper, Zacharia Mutai
Growing up only a mile away from Ol Pejeta, Zacharia Mutai has been around wildlife since his childhood. This area is home for him and for as long as he can remember he has wanted to be a conservationist.
Today, Zacharia is the Head Caregiver of the northern white rhinos. He has looked after them since they arrived in 2009 and he has worked at Ol Pejeta, for 22 years, starting in the year 2000.
Zacharia is one of the northern white rhinos' closest friends and greatest advocates. He is on the front lines, witnessing the tremendous effort being undertaken to revive this ancient species.
Outside of work, Zacharia is a mixed farmer looking after a small scale of tea plantation, his cows, and goats. He is also a father of six children, and enjoys hanging out with them during his holidays.
About Filmmaker, Ami Vitale
Ami Vitale and MediaStorm collaborated to make Remembering Sudan. Ami is an Ol Pejeta Ambassador and National Geographic photographer, writer, speaker and documentary filmmaker. She has traveled to more than 100 countries, documenting the heartbreaking realities of war and witnessing the inspiring power of individuals making a difference.
Throughout the years, Ami has lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit— keeping true to her belief in the importance of “living the story.” Her award-winning work illuminates the unsung heroes and communities working to protect wildlife and finding harmony in our natural world.
Ami is also the founder and Executive Director of the non-profit Vital Impacts which uses art to empower and engage youth through the arts to become activists and influence their peers in the world.
Ami lectures around the world for the National Geographic LIVE series, and will be featured on the National Geographic Channel Explorer tv series in 2023.
"Our fate is linked to the fate of animals. Without rhinos and other wildlife we suffer more than loss of ecosystem health. We suffer a loss of imagination, a loss of wonder, a loss of beautiful possibilities." -Ami Vitale
Remembering Sudan in the Classroom
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