Cricketers from across the globe will converge on Ol Pejeta Conservancy on June 15th – 17th, for a three-day tournament in one of Africa’s greatest wildlife conservation areas to commemorate the life of Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, and to raise awareness of the plight of this near-extinct species.
Established in 2015, the Last Male Standing (LMS) Rhino Cup will see 18 teams play a total of 34 short-format matches over three days in June on a ground surrounded by wildlife and shadowed by the snow-capped Mount Kenya, to support the Ol Pejeta Conservancy and rhino protection campaigns globally.
Tournament Director and founder of the Rhino Cup, Rob Stevenson in a statement said, “There has been a dramatic escalation in rhino poaching in recent years with over 7,000 rhinos killed in the last decade across Africa and shockingly there are now only two northern white rhinos left on the planet.”
“The Last Male Standing Rhino Cup is about drawing on the global love for the game of cricket to help combat poaching of the rhino and help raise much-needed funds for Ol Pejeta’s conservation work. The recent passing of Sudan, the last male of his species, highlights the need to take action and support the Conservancy, which is now home to the last two northern white rhinos left alive,” Stevenson added.
The conservation event is also a showcase for the global reach of cricket and the wider benefits that sport can bring. Going forward, the LMS Rhino Cup will become a ‘memorial’ tournament in honour of the last male standing – and indeed all the other rhinos still standing.
The tournament will see teams from Australia, South Africa, Mauritius and England participate, along with local Kenyan teams from around Nairobi and Laikipia. The Foundation for Youth Cricket & Education in Kenya, The Obuya Cricket Academy and The Primary Club of Australia are three high-profile charity-related teams participating in the event.
The CEO of Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Richard Vigne, said he 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,” Mr Vigne said.
“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 realised, and the Rhino Cup is a great initiative to support this.”
The event organisers are hoping to raise more than 2 million Kenyan Shillings from this year’s tournament to support Ol Pejeta and The Foundation for Youth Cricket & Education in Kenya (FYCEK), which helps transforms the lives of thousands of young Africans through sport and education.
All money raised from the event including player entry fees and public donations will be shared between the two organisations.