Full Frame “Kifaru” The Last Male Standing

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Full Frame “Kifaru” The Last Male Standing

Breanna Cary, Guest Contributor

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On April 6 at 9:30 a.m. there was not a dry eye in Cinema 3. You might be wondering why everyone was crying in Cinema 3, well it is because everyone along with myself decided to watch a documentary called Kifaru.

Staff writers getting a picture with one of the rhino caregivers from the movie Kifaru

Caitlin Richards
Breanna Cary and Caitlin Richards with Jospeh who is one of the rhino caregivers in the documentary

Going into this documentary I knew it was about the last northern white male rhino in the world and that was about it. Kifaru not only took me on a journey with a rhino, Sudan, at the Ol Pejeta wildlife conservatory in Kenya, but allowed me to really connect with a few of his caretakers, Jojo, Jacob, and James. Without these caretakers watching over them 24/7, the northern white rhinos would be killed instantly by poachers.

This amazing film Kifaru,  won not just one award but two at this documentary festival. Kifaru won the Audience Choice Award, meaning every tear shed in that theater voted a 5 (the highest number) for the film. And the second award won was Full Frame Environmental.

The journey began like this, Jojo, James, and Jacob were walking in the field laughing and having a great time. They finally walk up to the Rhinos and immediately you can see the love each one of them have in their eyes. I bonded with Jacob in the beginning as he was so carefree and ran around in the open field playing with the rhinos, Nijin, Fatu, and Sudan.A viewer could tell at this point in the movie how happy Jacob was.

When they were in the field caring for the three rhinos one of them got a phone call saying they have found a two week old white rhino abandoned. They ended up naming her Ringo. As most animal lovers do we get attached to the babies because they are so dang cute and adorable. Ringo was no different. I was able to watch her grow up through this movie only to get heart broken when she became really sick with an incurable condition and died at nine months.

The longer I watched the more invested I became and the more I attached to Sudan. I cried the hardest when James sang Amazing Grace to Sudan. It really reminded me of my great aunt who passed away and how that was her favorite song and we would sing it together. That song being sung in the movie told me Sudan was not going to make it, but he lived a good life. He lived longer than the what the average white rhino is supposed to live.  

When Sudan got to the point of no longer being able to get up on his own and his back legs would no longer support is his two ton weight the caretakers decided to call in the vet to send him off to heaven. The vet was under a lot of pressure not only was he taking away the last northern white male rhino, a companionship to three amazing men, but he had to save the eggs and try to perform an embryo transplant. If an embryo transplant does not work, they will then try to do cloning.

Kifaru did not end with Sudan dying rather showing Nijin and Fatu and the caretakers being with their families. One of thing I can not wrap my head around is how Jojo, James, and Jacob work at the conservatory nine months out of the year, and are only home for three. Jojo had a daughter born during the movie. Her name was Chloe. I sat and cried some more when I realized Chloe only gets to see her dad for a short period of time. I cannot fathom that as my dad is my best friend and we are super close. It broke my heart know that Chloe gets little to no time with her father.

After the film was over and I thought I was done crying, the director and producer came out on stage and said we have a very special guest today, everyone please welcome Jojo. In that moment this movie became more surreal than it already was. Listening to this humble guy talk about his day to day life and something he cared so much inspired me to follow every rhino Instagram account out there, and to donate to the Ol Pejeta Conservatory.

This amazing film Kifaru,  won not just one award but two at this documentary festival. Kifaru won the Audience Choice Award, meaning every tear shed in that theater voted a 5 (the highest number) for the film. And the second award won was Full Frame Environmental.

If you are an animal enthusiast or would like to learn more about the last two remaining white rhinos Nijin and Fatu visit https://www.olpejetaconservancy.org. Please think about donating to the conservatory as they are trying to protect the wildlife, especially the rhinos.

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