Sunday, 17 November 2019

World's oldest captive white rhino dies in French zoo

NOVEMBER 14, 2019

The life expectancy of white rhinos in the wild is about 50 years

The world's oldest captive white rhino, South African-born Sana, has died at the age of 55, the French zoo that she called home for the last 26 years said Thursday.

Born in 1964 in the Umfolozi National Park in South Africa's eastern KwaZulu-Natal province, the southern white rhino was transported to Europe seven years later as a zoo attraction.

Sana lived in several parks in Germany before arriving in 1993 at Planete Sauvage, a zoo in western France near the city of Nantes that had opened the previous year.

The life expectancy of white rhinos in the wild is about 50 years, according to the Save the Rhino advocacy group.

Sana required special care in her later years, the park said in a statement.

Notably, she was no longer able to roll in the mud, a popular and crucial pastime that helps rhinos regulate their body temperature, prevent sunburn and ward off pesky insects.

"Once a week, they coated her in green clay to help her skin stay hydrated and to stave off infections," the park said.

It added that Sana "always had a strong character, she was the one who set the rules."

Her death has "deeply affected" her caretakers, the zoo said.

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