June 19, 2017 / 4:55 PM / 2 years ago

Maasai warriors hit boundaries in protection of white rhino

Members of the Maasai Cricket Warriors pose for a photograph with the last surviving male northern white rhino named 'Sudan' after playing against the British Army Training Unit (BATUK) cricket team during a charity tournament called the "Last Male Standing Rhino Cup" at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia, Kenya June 18, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

LAIKIPIA, Kenya (Reuters) - Under the gaze of the last male northern white rhino, a group of Maasai warriors in Kenya went into bat for the threatened species, wearing their traditional red shuka robes and clunky white cricket pads.

The warriors were taking part in the annual Last Male Standing Rhino Cup, a two-day tournament hosted in the Laikipia conservation area where the last three northern white rhino live under 24-hour armed guard to protect them from poaching.

“Because the cost of looking after rhinos is enormously expensive these days as a result of poaching, we use many other different ways to try and raise the money,” Richard Vigne of tournament organizers the Ol Pejeta conservancy told Reuters.

Ol Pejeta hoped to raise 1 million Kenya shillings ($100,000) from the 12-team tournament, which also featured sides from the British Army Training Unit and Australian High Commission.

Cricket is not the only method of fundraising that the male rhino, named Sudan, is part of.

Conservationists set up a Tinder profile for the rhino, to help raise money for his $9-million fertility treatment after all attempts at getting him to mate naturally have failed.

Reporting by Thomas Mukoya; Writing by Patrick Johnston in London; Editing by Alison Williams

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