Earlier this year, Paolo Pellegrin spent five days in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya documenting the rhinos. "This story just seemed to encapsulate everything," he says. "They're wild animals, they're magnificent, the second largest [land] mammal in the world, and these are the last two of them." Looking at his images of Najin and Fatu, you're looking at a world that will soon cease to exist.
The pair of white rhinos are the only two remaining of their species on Earth, due to habitat loss and widespread historic and modern poaching for their horns. Following the death of the last male in 2014, a northern white rhino will never again be born naturally, although efforts are underway to preserve their DNA. In Paolo's minimalist, monochrome stills and moving images, you can sense the weight of their predicament and, at the same time, the strength, wonder and grace of working with these extraordinary 3,000kg creatures.
"In our day-to-day lives, we're not confronted by wild animals," says Paolo. "We might have a cat, but this is completely different." A Magnum member, Paolo is a renowned photojournalist and the winner of multiple awards for his images of conflicts and natural disasters across the globe. More recently, he has turned his attention to covering ecological stories, photographing glaciers melting, volcanoes, and seeing these geological phenomena as part of a living, breathing whole.