The Last Rhinos is the third book by Lawrence Anthony and with his passing earlier this year I am quite sad to say it will be the last. He was truly a remarkable man and I highly recommend his first two books, “The Elephant Whisperer”, and “Babylon’s Ark”. This latest book chronicles Anthony’s efforts to save the Northern White Rhino extinction, and what efforts they are.
The story begins when Anthony finds out that there are fewer than 15 Northern White Rhinos left in the wild. For a long time rhinos have been slaughtered for their horns. In many countries, particularly southeast Asia, the horn is thought to have medicinal properties and sells for an extraordinary amount of money. Sadly, the horns are made of keratinized cells, essentially the same stuff our fingernails are made of, and the demand for them is driven by what is superstition.
I feel that I should point out that this book is less about the rhinos themselves, and focuses more on the people attempting to rescue them. The main obstacle to the rescue efforts is the location of the rhinos. They are deep in the heart of the Congo, one of the most dangerous and violent places on Earth. The rhinos are living right in the middle of territory controlled by the Lord’s Resistance Army, one of the most brutal groups in Africa, led by none other than Joseph Kony. None of this is a deterrent to Anthony, and he repeatedly puts himself in harm’s way for the sake of these remarkable animals.
It truly is awe-inspiring to see what this man is willing to do to save these animals, and it is highly recommended to animal lovers, or those with an interest in conservation.