Justin Mott, No Man’s Land
This exhibition on view at Anastasia Photo in New York is the first installment of “Kindred Guardians”, Justin Mott’s long-term series documenting people who devote their lives to animal welfare and conserving wildlife.
With no male northern white rhinos left on the planet, “No Man’s Land” is a poignant swan song to the dedicated caretakers of the last two remaining females, Fatu and Najin.
The northern white rhino is a subspecies of white rhino that historically roamed across Uganda, Chad, Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, following widespread poaching and civil war in their home range, they are now considered extinct in the wild.
Conservancy from the Czech Republic’s Dvůr Králové Zoo in hopes that the native habitat for the animals would be conducive to breeding. In the years since their translocation, the rhinos experienced a series of unsuccessful breeding attempts and the devastating deaths of Suni (2014) and Sudan (2018).
Najin and Fatu reside in 700-acre enclosure with 24-hour armed security. The caretakers who patrol the park encounter the likes of lions and marauding poachers, the latter of which fired on the guardians in 2018 leading to a firefight that left three poachers dead.
The future of Najin and Fatu’s species now lies in the development of in vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques which have never before been attempted on rhinos. Together with Dvůr Králové and IZW Berlin, Ol Pejeta Conservancy is in a race against time to raise 9 million USD towards their Make A Rhino initiative.