Oh no, our heart breaks 🙁

A 41-year-old northern white rhino died on Sunday (22nd November) at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, leaving just 3 members of the critically endangered species alive worldwide, zoo officials said.

Nola San Diego Zoo
Source: sandiegozoo.org

Nola, an ageing rhino that had resided at the California zoo park since 1989, had been receiving treatment for a bacterial infection, according to a statement on the zoo’s website:


The source of Nola’s infection was recently identified as a large abscess deep in her pelvic region. On 13th November, veterinarians performed a minor surgical procedure on Nola to drain the abscess. The procedure was successful in removing ninety percent of the infected material.

She was placed under constant veterinary watch last week as her appetite and activity levels declined. After her condition worsened significantly, caretakers decided to euthanize her, zoo officials said.

“Nola was an iconic animal, not only at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, but worldwide,” the zoo said. “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 Northern White Rhino
Source: sandiegozoo.org

The 3 remaining northern white rhinos are at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, the zoo said on Facebook in response to an outpouring of comments from Nola’s fans.

(Reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Fla.; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Sources: Reuters, San Diego Zoo Blog.

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