4 rare white rhinos die suddenly in Australian zoo

Mar 22, 2012, 3:05 AM

SYDNEY (AP) – Four rare white rhinoceroses have died in recent weeks at an Australian zoo after displaying mysterious neurological problems such as stumbling.

The Taronga Western Plains Zoo near the New South Wales state city of Dubbo said in a statement Wednesday that it had begun a veterinary investigation to pinpoint the cause of the deaths and is working with rhino specialists in Africa and North America.

The four rhinos _ Izizi, Aluka, Intombi and her daughter Amira _ began showing signs of neurological problems two weeks ago, an unnamed zoo official told Australian Associated Press.

The first rhino died soon after the symptoms became apparent and the fourth died over the weekend, the official said.

Three other rhinos survived, zoo spokesman Mark Williams said. Williams declined to answer further questions.

The zoo’s general manager, Matt Fuller, said bacterial infections, snake venom, toxins and many types of viruses have been ruled out as possible causes.

Fuller said in a statement that no other species at the zoo had been affected by the illness and the surviving rhinos, which have been placed in quarantine, are healthy. They had shown no sign of illness.

“The rhino keepers and veterinary staff know and care for every individual in the herd, so this has been a huge shock, and we’re all very sad and supporting each other through this difficult time,” Fuller said.

Fuller said results of a microscopic examination of tissue from the rhino carcasses may be available next week, but he added that it could take several weeks to get results from virology cultures.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, white rhinos are classified as near endangered with an estimated 20,000 in the wild in Africa. The zoo’s rhinos are from the southern white subspecies found in South Africa and Kenya.

Intombi and Aluka were brought to the zoo from the Kruger National Park in South Africa in 2003. Amira and Izizi were born in captivity.

Their ages ranged from around 7 to 16 years.

Fuller was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BoF VOICES)...
Associated Press

Vivienne Westwood, influential fashion maverick, dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood, an influential fashion maverick who played a key role in the punk movement, died Thursday at 81.
1 month ago
FILE - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during his first Cabinet meeting flanked by his ...
Associated Press

Rishi Sunak: UK’s ex-Treasury chief gets his shot at PM job

LONDON (AP) — Rishi Sunak ran for Britain’s top job and lost. Then he got another shot — and the chance to say “I told you so.” The former U.K. Treasury chief was runner-up to Liz Truss in the contest to replace the scandal-plagued Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and prime minister. But Truss […]
3 months ago
Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss addresses the media in Downing Street in London, Thursday, Oct. ...
Associated Press

Truss quits, but UK’s political and economic turmoil persist

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Liz Truss quit Thursday after a tumultuous and historically brief term marred by economic policies that roiled financial markets and a rebellion in her political party that obliterated her authority. After just 45 days in office, Truss became the third Conservative prime minister to be toppled in as many […]
3 months ago
People receive medical treatment at the scene of Russian shelling, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 1...
Associated Press

Russia unleashes biggest attacks in Ukraine in months

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia retaliated Monday for an attack on a critical bridge by unleashing its most widespread strikes against Ukraine in months, a lethal barrage that smashed civilian targets, knocked out power and water, shattered buildings and killed at least 14 people. Ukraine’s Emergency Service said nearly 100 people were wounded in the […]
4 months ago
This illustration made available by Johns Hopkins APL and NASA depicts NASA's DART probe, upper rig...
Associated Press

NASA spacecraft smashes into asteroid for defense test

A NASA spacecraft rammed an asteroid at blistering speed Monday in an unprecedented dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces Earth.
4 months ago
Associated Press

At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman’s death spread

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters angry over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody have killed at least nine people since the violence erupted over the weekend, according to a tally Thursday by The Associated Press. The scope of Iran’s ongoing unrest, the worst in […]
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
4 rare white rhinos die suddenly in Australian zoo