The death of Sudan, the last known male northern white rhinoceros in the world evoked international grief and dismay. The majestic 45-year-old creature resided in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya and left behind two female northen white rhinos, the last remaining members of their species.
And now it turns out that Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma and his wife had the opportunity to meet Sudan in 2015.
In an Instagram post, Ol Pejeta Conservancy shared an image of a smiling Sharma with Sudan. The image was also shared by Sharma's wife Ritika Sharma. Referring to Sharma as the "most successful batsman in the Indian Premier League", the Conservatory's revealed that Sharma has made a "significant donation" towards their rhino conservation programme.
"Rohit and his wife Ritika came to Ol Pejeta back in 2015 to meet Sudan, the last male northern white rhino in the world," the post further added. The post went on to thank them for visiting as it helped their cause win a "huge following in India and the world" and for helping Sudan's story reach "thousands of people:
"He is actively associated with animal protection and has been a strong supporter of our cause since then. We... hope more celebrities use their influence to raise awareness about the plight of the planet's most critically endangered species," the post concluded.
View this post on Instagram
Captain of the Mumbai Indians cricket team and one of the most successful batsman in the Indian Premier League, Rohit Sharma (@rohitsharma45) has made a significant donation towards our rhino conservation programme. Rohit and his wife Ritika came to Ol Pejeta back in 2015 to meet Sudan, the last male northern white rhino in the world. Thanks to their visit and his huge following in India and the world, the story of Sudan reached thousands of people. He is actively associated with animal protection and has been a strong supporter of our cause since then. We are honoured Sharma chose to contribute to our conservation work and hope more celebrities use their influence to raise awareness about the plight of the planet's most critically endangered species. #WildlifeConservation #OlPejeta #OlPejetaDoMore #ConservationChampion #ProtectingBiodiversity
On his visit to Africa in 2015, Sharma did not just meet the animals and take pictures with them but also joined an anti-poaching campaign to aid conservation of wildlife in Africa.
This is not the first time that the Mumbai Indians captain has shown his love for the great beast. In September, Sharma launched the Rohit4Rhinos campaign, in partnership with WWF India and Animal Planet, to help build awareness for the need to conserve the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros or the Indian Rhino.
Sharma is also a member of PETA and often bats for rhino conservation on social media.
There are approx. 3500 #Greateronehornedrhinos in the world today; 82% of them in India. Join me to #batforrhinos on #worldrhinoday and support measures to protect these animals in the wild. Log onto https://t.co/Qnhv9NhdHu to support the cause. @WWFINDIA @AnimalPlanetIn pic.twitter.com/iMUy315MAr— Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) September 4, 2019
In 2015, he had also shared image of his Africa visit on Twitter.
Wonderful trip to Africa for a great cause!It's sad how many animals are on the brink of extinction #SayNoToPoaching pic.twitter.com/JhucQSZ7NE— Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) September 19, 2015
The big guy himself, Sudan! @OlPejeta can't believe he's the last male! They're so amazing #Stars4TheLastMaleStanding pic.twitter.com/Mgh1C8kKgc— Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) September 18, 2015