One of four known northern white rhinos in the world died from age-related health complications at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on Sunday.
Nola, 41, lived at the park since 1989–over half her life. She had contracted a bacterial infection and suffered age-related health issues that led to the decision to put her down, after everything–including surgery–failed to help.
On Nov. 13, veterinarians were able to remove ninety per cent of a large infected abscess in deep Nola’s pelvic region, according to a statement from the park. She was watched around the clock, but in the past week began to have a decreased appetite and activity level. Despite “intensified treatment efforts” during her last 24 hours, her condition worsened greatly, and that was when the care team made the decision to euthanize Nola.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park said in statement released the day of Nola’s death:
Nola was an iconic animal, not only at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, but worldwide. She was one of only four northern white rhinoceros on the planet. Through the years, millions of people learned about Nola and the plight of rhinos in the wild through visits to the Safari Park, numerous media stories and social media posts. Nola leaves a legacy that her keepers and animal care staff hope will continue to help rhino conservation for years to come.
In September a group of almost 200 gathered at the Park to celebrate World Rhino Day. This year, participants put together an art project that illustrated Nola.
A statement from the Zoo detailed their robust rhino program:
San Diego Zoo Global has been working for decades to help rhinos, and has one of the most successful rhino breeding programs in the world. To date, a total of 93 southern white rhinos, 68 greater one-horned rhinos and 14 black rhinos have been born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
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