The Current

World's last male northern white rhino was 'ambassador of extinction': filmmaker

A new documentary chronicles rangers' efforts in Kenya to care for the last male northern white rhino. We talk to the filmmaker behind the story about why he wanted to bring audiences face-to-face with extinction.

New documentary paints stark picture of what it looks like when a species dies

The film, Kifaru, follows two Kenyan rangers as they care for the world's last male northern white rhino, named Sudan. The animal died in 2018. (Ragtag Tribe Films)

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The director of a film that documented the last male northern white rhino's final years on Earth says the animal was "the ambassador for extinction."

"He'll always be that," filmmaker David Hambridge told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

"He was just a giant, magnificent animal, and I think that there's a lot of other species and a lot of other animals — flora and fauna — that we don't … really realize, but they're going extinct everyday too."

The United Nations released a damning report on biodiversity last week that warned more than one million plant and animal species are facing the threat of extinction.

Hambridge's film Kifaru, which screened at the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto, paints a stark picture of just what that extinction looks like.

It follows the story of two rangers at Kenya's Ol Pejeta Conservancy as they care for and protect a rhino named Sudan. His species, the northern white rhinoceros, has been largely destroyed by poachers who kill the animals in order to sell their horns.

Hambridge says he hopes people will see the "humanity" in the film and be inspired to "get engaged and … meet others that are doing this kind of work and can have a hand in conservation in the future."

To discuss the documentary, and the importance of protecting endangered animals like Sudan, Tremonti spoke to:

  • David Hambridge, director of the documentary Kifaru.
  • James Mwenda and Joseph Wachira, rangers at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, who cared for Sudan, the last male northern white rhino.

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.

Written by Kirsten Fenn. Produced by Julie Crysler.