Denver Zoo Rhino Dies, 6th Oldest In North American Zoos

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Shy Anne (credit: Denver Zoo)

Shy Anne (credit: Denver Zoo)

DENVER (CBS4)- A black rhinoceros living at the Denver Zoo died on Friday morning.

“Shy Anne” had been battling chronic renal disease and had lost her quality of life. Zoo staff made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize the elderly rhino.

Shy Anne was 31 years old. She had been under veterinary care for months while being treated for renal disease.

Over the past few weeks zoo keepers had watched her closely as she took a turn for the worse and her appetite decreased, she lost weight and became dehydrated.

The median life expectancy for black rhinoceroses living in a zoo in North America is 17.8 years.

At the time of her death it was believed she was the sixth oldest black rhino living in a North American zoo.

Shy Anne (credit: Denver Zoo)

Shy Anne (credit: Denver Zoo)

“We watched Shy Anne very closely. Unfortunately, she was getting progressively worse and we determined that her health was declining rapidly. We knew she was not going to get better. It’s always difficult to make these decisions, but we wanted to do what was in Shy Anne’s best interest. She will be so missed,” says Staff Veterinarian Diana Boon.

Shy Anne was born December 11, 1982 at the San Antonio Zoo and came to Denver in October 2000 from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs.

Zookeepers remember Shy Anne as a feisty and determined rhino that was really fun to work with. She gave birth to only one calf while at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, a male named Boo. Denver Zoo is now home to one black rhino and two greater one-horned rhinos.

Due to their slow reproductive rate and the continuing threat of poaching, the black rhino is critically endangered. In 1970 there were an estimated 100,000 black rhinos but today there are only about 3,700 animals left, according to the International Union of Conservation of Nature.

Although some black rhinos are slowly making a comeback in well-protected areas, they continue to be poached in unprotected areas for their horn which is used in traditional Chinese medicine and in Yemen for dagger handles. In fact, many black rhino populations have been decimated as poaching has dramatically increased in recent years. Black rhinos are also threatened by habitat loss.

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