Fondly referred to as ‘The Girls’, this mother-daughter combination are guarded 24/7 by armed rangers on Ol Pejeta. Fatu is mischievous and enjoys charging across the plains to wallow in mud when it rains, whilst her mother Najin has a calmer personality, keeping Fatu in check and maintaining discipline.
The story of Najin and Fatu is unavoidably tragic. A species decimated by decades of poaching and civil war, their population of thousands was reduced to just 700 by the 1970s and by the mid-1980s, only 15 remained in the wild. Today there are just these two lonely girls – the world’s last two known northern white rhinos.
Born in a Dvur Kralove Zoo in Czechia, Najin and Fatu, alongside Sudan and Suni were translocated in 2009 to Ol Pejeta in Kenya, in the hope that a more natural environment would stimulate them to breed. Unfortunately, these ambitions were not realised, and sadly Suni passed away in 2013 and Sudan in 2018.
However, with no living male, the NWRs are on the verge of extinction. To recover the species, Ol Pejeta is working with a consortium of scientists using cutting-edge reproductive technologies such as IVF and surrogacy. Time is of the essence. As Najin and Fatu age, the window for socializing a calf narrows, risking the loss of vital knowledge. Their survival is critical to securing the future of this species.