What were you doing on 19 March 2018?
I can tell you what I did. Nothing unusual.
I woke up around 7 am, dropped my two kids at school, and got stuck in heavy traffic to work – I manage a small internet marketing company. We grabbed something to eat at noon, and it seemed just like any typical day. That evening was routine, too – I went home, had dinner with the family, watched some TV, and it was time for bed.
Nothing had changed in my world. Yet, that was the day Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), moved on to the great grasslands in the sky – taking any future hopes for his species, which had survived for millions of years with him.
Sudan’s subspecies was wiped out by poachers.
An entire subspecies gone forever. It is hard for me to comprehend it – with my short-term, near-future-biased human mind.
How could this happen?
I felt helpless. How could humanity let this happen? Why are we not working harder to save the lives of these wonderful creatures?
I felt like humanity had failed. I thought I had personally failed – even though I live thousands of miles from Kenya.
How did this happen on my watch? What were my excuses for failing Sudan and his species? A species that will live on only in photographs and documentaries.
Photographer Ami Vitale’s reflections hit home, “If there is meaning in Sudan’s passing, it’s that all hope is not lost. This can be our wake-up call. In a world of more than 7 billion people, we must see ourselves as part of the landscape. Our fate is linked to the fate of animals”.
It was time for me to stop making excuses and use my strengths to contribute meaningfully to saving our wonderful wildlife.
Hi! I’m Assaf, I love nature, and we think humans should respect and cherish our environment and other species sharing this planet with us. If not for better reasons, for human survival itself.
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