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Saying goodbye: White rhinoceros dies after 12-year stay at Phoenix Zoo

(Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX — While most people spent Tuesday gearing up for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, the Phoenix Zoo was saying goodbye to one of its Southern white rhinoceros that passed away.

In a Facebook post, the zoo said Half Ear — who spent the final 12 of her 45 years in Phoenix — was humanely euthanized after veterinarians and keepers decided she would not recover from the lasting effects of a serious neurological issue, in addition to other age-related illnesses.

The zoo said the rhinoceros’ health had been gradually deteriorating over the past months.

Half Ear was brought to the Phoenix Zoo in 2004 with another rhinoceros, Notch. The animals were paired together because of the strong bond they shared.

When Notch was suffering from an illness that limited her sight, Half Ear guided Notch though the exhibit.

After Notch passed away in 2011, zoo staff though Half Ear would have become depressed and followed shortly after. However, she went on to live five more years.

“[She] was a challenging but beloved old lady for her keepers to work with on a daily basis,” the zoo’s post read. “She kept her keepers on their toes, tested new keepers and would make their jobs harder by not cooperating and making a bigger mess for them to clean.”

Keepers said Half Ear was always a good reminder to take a step back and play in the rain — especially if mud was involved.

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