Tags: white rhino | dies | san diego | zoo | safari

White Rhino Dies at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Leaving Only 3 Worldwide

Image: White Rhino Dies at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Leaving Only 3 Worldwide
In this Dec. 31, 2014, file photo, Nola, a 40-year-old northern white rhino who is only one of five remaining of the species, wanders around her enclosure at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on a cold winter day in Escondido, California. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)

By    |   Monday, 23 Nov 2015 12:52 PM

An endangered northern white rhino named Nola was euthanized at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on Sunday, leaving only three of the species left on the planet.

According to USA Today, Nola, 41, had been at the park since 1989, and suffered from arthritis and other age-related issues. The park decided to put her down after the conditions worsened.

"We’re absolutely devastated by this loss, but resolved to fight even harder to end extinction," the park said in a statement.

The northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) is a subspecies of white rhinos that once ranged through Uganda, Sudan, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, and Cameroon.

They are the second-largest animals after elephants, and can run up to 30 miles per hour.

According to The Washington Post, northern white rhinos have no natural predators, but have experienced widespread hunting by humans. The population, 2,000 in 1960, has now fallen to three.

"The three who remain live under constant surveillance in Kenya, surrounded by armed guards 24 hours a day. The lone male is too old to mate, and the two females are incapable of carrying a pregnancy," wrote The Post.

Moving forward, scientists hope to revive the species not through traditional mating, but through in-vitro fertilization (IVF). The idea would be to use previously preserved rhino reproductive cells to fertilize an egg and implant it a surrogate, likely a southern white rhino.

"It’s kind of a race against time," CEO Richard Vigne of Ol Pejeta Conservancy told Live Science earlier this year. "Those remaining females could all die tomorrow. Once they’re gone, then the source of eggs disappears."

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An endangered northern white rhino named Nola was euthanized at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on Sunday, leaving only three of the species left on the planet.
white rhino, dies, san diego, zoo, safari
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2015-52-23
Monday, 23 Nov 2015 12:52 PM
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