In early November, a glum photograph of the world’s sole surviving male Northern White Rhinocerous went viral. At 42 years old, Sudan has already reached his expected lifespan, extinguishing any hopes that the subspecies could continue without complicated cloning and in-vitro fertilization.
With just three remaining animals, all of whom live in captivity at Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the impending extinction of the Northern White Rhino has been widely publicized. But the full scope of the planet’s extinction threat is less prominent in the media. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, about 12% of bird species and almost a quarter of known mammals now officially qualify as “threatened”.
Three African dudes want to bring that issue back into the public eye. So they did what 20-something guys do best: they took a road trip.
On June 12, Willie Badenhorst, 25, Calum Buckmaster, 24, and Corban Brincat, 26 — three longtime friends from southern Africa — chucked their shoes aside, boarded a sticker-laden, packed-to-the-brim tuk tuk, and set out from Cape Town on an epic expedition for a cause.
For the next four months, the Barefoot Adventurers Club zigged and zagged across Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania en route to Nairobi, Kenya. Along the way, they planned to raise awareness about the plight of wildlife on the African continent and showcase conservation projects in each country.