Michael Werikhe: Kenya's Rhino Man

Learn more about how one man walked 5,000 kilometres to raise awareness for the conservation of black rhinos through the lens of photojournalist Mohamed 'Mo' Amin.

By Mohamed Amin Foundation

The Rhino Man (1987) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

Kenya's Rhino Man

A Kenyan auto plant security supervisor by profession, Michael Werikhe became a world-renowned conservationist who championed the cause of the endangered Rhinoceros. He raised over USD 1 million for Rhino conservation in sponsored walks from 1982 through 1993, covering nearly 5,000 kilometres in Kenya, Europe, the United States and Taiwan.

The City in the Sun (1971) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

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Michael Sampson Werikhe was born on 25 May 1956 and spent much of his early life in Nairobi, Kenya before relocating to the coastal city of Mombasa. His love for conservation began during his childhood. 

The Rhino Man (1987) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

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At the age of 11, he had a huge collection of rescued reptiles living in pens at his family's two-bedroom flat. Many could not believe that this humble, almost shy, but extremely articulate boy would rise to fame at such a young age.

The Rhino Man (1987) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

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His shot to fame on Christmas day in 1982, when he decided to do his first awareness walk for Rhinos - a 500-kilometre walk from the coastal city of Mombasa to the capital Nairobi, which would last 27 days. 

White Rhino by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

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Michael went on to organise several 'Rhino walks' all over the world. He would normally walk alone. His impressive initiatives would see him win numerous awards including the UNEP Global 500 Award. He was honoured with the posthumous award of African of the Millennium by the BBC in 1999. 

The Rhino Man (1987) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

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Michael passed away after he was beaten by a gang outside his house in Mombasa as he was catching a bus to work.

The Rhino Man (1987) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

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Michael is remembered around the world for his decade-long struggle to highlight the plight of the African Black Rhino and other endangered species. His passionate efforts are still prevalent today. His work continues through many initiatives like the Michael Werikhe Trust. 

Rhino by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

“The Rhino horn is made of tissue just like that which makes our nails. If one has a problem with his libido, all he has to do is to chew his nails!” 
Michael Werikhe

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