Nola, a critically endangered 40-year-old female northern white rhino, who has been under close medical watch for the past 11 days in a boma at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, is showing signs of improved health and returned to her 65-acre field enclosure Thursday where she was greeted by Cape buffalo that also share her habitat.  Photo credit: Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Nola, a critically endangered 40-year-old female northern white rhino.
Photo credit: Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Nola, the northern white rhinoceros at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, is one of only four members of the species left in the world following the death of an elderly female in the Czech Republic. Nabire was around 32 years old when she died Monday of complications from a cyst at the Dvur Kralove Zoo.

“Our condolences go out to the Dvur Kralove Zoo for this particularly difficult loss,” said Randy Rieches, curator of mammals for the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “Watching this wonderful subspecies move one step closer to extinction breaks the hearts of all of us who have worked with and love rhinos.”

In addition to Nola, an elderly female, the remaining members of the species are a male and two females at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. The northern white rhino population was reduced in the wild by poachers who mistakenly believe the keratin in their horns has medicinal value, according to San Diego Zoo Global. The ones in captivity have generally not
reproduced.

The organization has frozen genetic samples of a dozen northern white rhinos at the San Diego Zoo Global Institute for Conservation Research. The program is being funded by a $100,000 donation from the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation.

— City News Service