Nature: The Last Rhino
Premieres Wednesday, February 21 at 8 p.m. EST on PBS (check local listings)
Nature: The Last Rhino introduces viewers to Sudan, the very last male Northern White Rhinoceros. His harrowing journey is told through the international cast of characters who have been involved in Sudan’s life, from when he was snatched as a calf from his mother’s side in war-torn Central Africa, to his captivity as a prized exhibit in a cold, concrete zoo behind the Iron Curtain while poaching devastated his kind to extinction back home. Now 43 years old and half-blind, Sudan is living out his days under the 24-hour watch of an armed guard, on a protective sanctuary in Kenya. Meanwhile, a team of scientists and experts led by Professor Thomas Hildebrandt from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research turn to technology in a race against time to save this majestic rhino subspecies whose origins date back at least five million years. One hour.
- Sudan was first captured in February 1975 from a South Sudan game reserve and sent 7,000 miles to a remote zoo in the former Czechoslovakia. He is one of only three Northern White Rhinos left on the planet, and the only remaining male.
- Sudan now lives in Ol Pejeta conservancy in Kenya with the world’s only two female Northern White Rhinos. He’s achieved celebrity status around the world with those who have taken up the cause of saving these magnificent creatures.
- The White Rhinoceros, found only in Africa, has two genetically distinct subspecies – the Northern White Rhino and the Southern White Rhino. The White Rhino is the largest land mammal after the elephant and the only rhino to have a square, wide upper lip, which helps it graze.
- Ceratotherium simum cottoni, or the Northern White Rhino, once roamed widely across the grasslands and savannas of Africa, but is now completely extinct in the wild due to extreme poaching.
- The Southern White Rhino, or Ceratotherium simum simum, has successfully been brought back from the brink of extinction through careful protection and management. They are now classified as near endangered.
- A troop of security officers, natives of the Bushland, protect the reservation from potential poachers. “To protect these animals, you have to risk your life,” says one of the officers. They have had to stop several poaching attempts this year.
- Since the three living Northern White Rhinos are unable to produce more children the natural way, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is the only viable solution. To test this process, a group of scientists sedate Carla, a Southern White Rhinoceros, to extract her eggs. The extraction is very difficult and precise, allowing no room for error.
Long TV Listing:
Follow the story of Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhinoceros. His journey as the last of his kind is given a glimmer of hope from scientists and animal experts who turn to technology to save the Northern White Rhino before it dies out forever.
Short TV Listing
Meet Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino, as experts attempt to save his kind from extinction.
Nature brings the wonders of natural history to millions of American viewers. Nature has won more than 700 honors from the television industry, the international wildlife film communities and environmental organizations, including 18 Emmys and three Peabody Awards.
Nature is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and PBS. For Nature, Fred Kaufman is executive producer. Bill Murphy is series producer. The Last Rhino is a co-production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC and BBC Studios in association with WNET. The documentary is directed by Rowan Deacon and produced by Liz Kempton. Sacha Mirzoeff and Simon Ford are executive producers and Roger Webb is series editor. Brendan Easton is director of photography and James Gold is film editor. Tom Harges is narrator. Original music by Justin Nicholls.
Support for this Nature program was made possible in part by the Arnhold Family in memory of Clarisse Arnhold, the Halmi Family in memory of Robert Halmi, Sr., Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, the Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation, Rosalind P. Walter, Sandra Atlas Bass, Susan R. Malloy, Jennifer M. Combs, Timon J. Malloy and the Sun Hill Foundation, the Arlene and Milton D. Berkman Philanthropic Fund, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by the nation’s public television stations.
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Theater Close-Up, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.