Kenyan Icon Receives Emotional Tribute in London [VIDEO]

  • The world's last male white Rhino on earth, which died in March 2018, has received an emotional tribute from a London-based artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, close to two years after his death.

    CNN reported on November 25, 2019, that the London's Royal Academy of Arts, one of the most prestigious in Britain, put up a star life-size exhibit of the iconic rhino to celebrate its life and times.

    The rhino, well known as Sudan, was euthanised at age 45 after suffering from degenerative changes in its muscles and bones, combined with extensive skin wounds as a result of treatments of age-related diseases.

    Joseph Wachira, a keeper at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, comforting Sudan, the last male northern white rhinoceros minutes before death. Sudan died in March 2018.

    Ginsberg's, in her six-minute video installation, called The Substitute (2019), re-created Sudan's life from zoo archive footage and computer models supplied by a London visual effects company, The Mill, while his movements were based on research by artificial intelligence company Deepmind.

    Set at a vantage point in the museum, visitors have been provided with a bench to sit and watch 3D recreation of the famous rhino unfold.

    "You simply sit on a bench and watch Sudan materialize before you - as Ginsberg puts it, 'basically a rhino in a box'. You hear his snorts. You sense his bulk, his weight. And for a subliminal moment, he looks directly back at you and catches your eye," CNN wrote of the tribute.

    The American media house reported that London artist Ginsberg first heard about Sudan's fate on Twitter and was moved to tell a story of the creature that united the world in grief.

    "Why can't we look after what we have? These stories are so urgent. We need to change our behaviour. And it's up to us to tell governments. We're not doing well,"  she explained her creation. 

    Sudan's death caused concern the world over, specifically amongst environmental conservationists who felt that not much was being done to ensure that animals were being protected as they should. 

    The location of the special tribute zone ste aside for Sudan at the London Royal Academy in Britain.

    "Those final moments were quiet - the rain falling, a single go-away bird scolding, and the muffled sorrow of Sudan’s caretakers. These keepers spend more time protecting the northern white rhinos than they do with their own children. Watching a creature die - one who is the last of its kind - is something I hope never to experience again. It felt like watching our own demise," Ami Vitale of National Geographic wrote of his experience covering the final moments of Sudan's life.

    Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg speaking about shaping the future through design at the Design Indaba festival in South Africa on June 3, 2016.

    Towards the end of his life, Sudan was put under 24-hour security surveillance, with armed guards following his every step to protect him from poachers.

    A video of the 3D tribute by Ginsberg courtesy of CNN.