Zoo opens investigation after third white rhino dies


zoo officials have confirmed they are launching an investigation after the death of a third white rhino calf at Monarto Safari Park in South Australia.

According to an autopsy, the 15-month-old “Eshe” calf died last week after a major trauma that caused extensive internal bleeding.

Monarto Safari Park lost two more rhino calves – Imani in 2019 and Toundu in 2017. Both had internal bleeding and the deaths occurred at a similar age to Eshe’s.
Eshe died alongside her mother on Friday night. (Provided)

Peter Clark, director of Monarto Safari Park, said the mother of the calves, Umquali, exhibits strong “maternal attributes” and now shows grieving behavior.

“She displays typical grieving behavior, calling out her calf and looking towards the area where Eshe died,” Mr. Clark said.

“She can continue to do this for a few days as she comes to terms with her loss. She continues to eat well and seeks the company of the other females in the group.

“While we don’t know how this happened, we will be developing a list of recommendations during the week.”

Zoo staff are said to be shattered after the death of the
Zoo staff are said to be shattered after the death of the “sweet” rhino. (Zoos South Australia)

Experts suspect that a genetic disease may be responsible for the death of animals.

“The fortuitous nature of these deaths is hard to ignore, so we will be doing more testing regarding both Eshe’s death (from the autopsy) and with both parents as well,” a statement provided by Zoos South Australia said. .

The 15-month-old calf suffered significant trauma which resulted in significant internal bleeding.
The 15-month-old calf suffered significant trauma which resulted in significant internal bleeding. (Zoos South Australia)

Southern white rhinos are the second largest land mammal in the world and roam the southern half of the African continent.

The number of survivors is now estimated at less than 15,000 individuals.

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They are classified as “Near Threatened” by the World Wildlife Fund.


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