Late last year. A little southern white rhino was born at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. He started life on a chilly note as his mum abandoned him soon after birth because he suffered from a critical condition that made his survival unlikely. However, after patrolmen rescued him, he surprised everyone by making a gradual recovery and warming his way into the hearts of all who came from all over the world to check on him.
Baby Ringo was named after the legendary Beatles star; Ringo Starr and that was only the tip of his celebrity. He lived in the same Boma as the world-famous last male standing; Sudan- and still managed to steal some of his mentor’s fame. Curious like a puppy and as eager as any human child, Ringo was dearly loved. He sniffed his visitors’ hand and playfully charged at them. Attempted to chew a few jeans and he was not above licking faces of anyone coming within rage of his long tongue. Like a kitten or pup, we all somewhat wished he would stay forever young, bubbly and endlessly cute. Last week, that wish came to pass but turned out to be one of the many curve balls life throws at us.
When a rhino dies through poaching, it usually fills us with a rage often surpassing sadness. It is rare that we think about the rhinos that die through other means and it hardly makes the news. Ringo, changed all that. Too young and lacking enough of a horn to attract poacher like the bigger rhinos. When he succumbed to ill-health, he broke millions of hearts.
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By Ian Mungai