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Northern white rhino keeper, guard killed by elephant among winners of Rangers Award 2018

By Caroline Chebet | Published Fri, July 27th 2018 at 12:14, Updated July 27th 2018 at 12:23 GMT +3
Rhino Caregivers James Mwenda (left) and Zachary Mutai with the only remaining Northern White Rhinos at Ol pejeta Conservancy in Lakipia County. [Kipsang Joseph/Standard]

A caretaker of the endangered Northern white rhino and a ranger trampled to death by an elephant will be among those feted for their work in conservation.

The two are among 18 rangers in Kenya and 50 in Africa to be awarded the Ranger's Award, which is an initiative of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma designed to raise awareness about threats to Africa’s wildlife and the critical role that front-line rangers play in conservation. 

The feted rangers will be awarded Sh300,000 each by China-based Paradise International.

James Mwenda (pictured) was recognised for taking care of two world's remaining white rhinos at Ol Pejeta conservancy as well as watching over the last male white rhino, Sudan, that died in March.

The other ranger, Julius Kulwa, who was working at Chyulu National Park with the Big Life Foundation, became a victim of the job he dearly loved after he was trampled on to death by an elephant while headed to work. He left behind a wife and two children, one who has been hired as a ranger to continue in the footsteps of his father.

The late Kulwa was eulogised by the Big Life Foundation as one among many African rangers who risked their lives in the wild to protect endangered wildlife.

“Rangers put their lives on the line every day that they step into the field, and we have always dreaded the moment when things might go terribly wrong. Sadly, that day came recently when one of Big Life’s long-serving rangers, Kior Kulwa, was killed by an elephant while returning to work from home,” part of the eulogy read.

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