NANYUKI, Kenya, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Cricketers from across the world will converge on Ol Pejeta Conservancy, East Africa's largest black rhino sanctuary in central Kenya to stage tournaments in memory of the world's last northern male white rhino, Sudan, who died on March 2018 aged 45 years.
Ol Pejeta said the three-day tournament in one of Africa's greatest wildlife conservation areas will commemorate the life of Sudan, the last known male northern white rhino, and to raise awareness of the plight of the near-extinct species.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy managing director Richard Vigne on Monday welcomed seeing cricketers from all corners of the world take over an area usually frequented by wildlife for a weekend to shine a spotlight on the conservancy.
"The plight that currently faces the northern white rhinos is a signal to the impact that humankind is having on many thousands of other species across the planet," Vigne said in a statement.
He said the conservation event is also a showcase for the global reach of cricket and the wider benefits that sport can bring.
"Ultimately, our aim is to reintroduce a viable population of northern white rhino back into the wild, which is where their true value will be realized, and the Rhino Cup is a great initiative to support this," he added.
The event organizers are hoping to raise more than 2 million shillings (20,000 U.S. dollars) from this year's tournament to support Ol Pejeta and The Foundation for Youth Cricket & Education in Kenya which helps transforms the lives of thousands of disadvantaged young Africans through sport and education.
The organizers said all money raised from the event including player entry fees and public donations will be shared between the two organizations.
Tournament director and founder of the Rhino Cup, Rob Stevenson said there has been a dramatic escalation in rhino poaching in recent years with more than 7,000 rhinos killed in the last decade across Africa and shockingly there are now only two northern white rhinos left on the planet.
Stevenson said the tournament will see players from Australia, South Africa, Mauritius and England participate, along with local Kenyan teams from around Nairobi and Laikipia in central Kenya.
The Last Male Standing Rhino Cup which was established four years ago will see close to 200 cricketers come together over three days in June on a ground surrounded by wildlife and shadowed by the snow-capped Mount Kenya, to support Ol Pejeta Conservancy and rhino protection campaigns globally.