Environment & Science

Endangered white rhino dies at San Diego Zoo

This Dec. 31, 2014 file photo shows Nola, a northern white rhinoceros, in her enclosure at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, Calif. The Los Angeles Times reports that Zoo officials say Nola, 41, was euthanized early Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015 as she was suffering from a number of old-age ailments, including arthritis, and had also been treated for a recurring abscess on her hip. The rhino had been a draw at the Safari Park since 1986.(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)
This Dec. 31, 2014 file photo shows Nola, a northern white rhinoceros, in her enclosure at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, Calif. The Los Angeles Times reports that Zoo officials say Nola, 41, was euthanized early Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015 as she was suffering from a number of old-age ailments, including arthritis, and had also been treated for a recurring abscess on her hip. The rhino had been a draw at the Safari Park since 1986.(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)
Lenny Ignelzi/AP

A popular white rhinoceros has been euthanized at San Diego Zoo Safari Park after a series of illnesses.

The Los Angeles Times reports that, at 41, Nola was considered geriatric and had a series of old-age ailments, including arthritis. The rhino had also been treated for a recurring abscess on her hip.

Zoo officials say Nola was euthanized early Sunday after her condition deteriorated. The rhino had been a draw at the Safari Park since 1986, according to the Associated Press.

"Losing Nola’s not just about losing Nola for us, it’s about  ... seeing the species go away,” said Christina Simmons, a spokesperson for the zoo, to KPCC. She said Nola's death also shines light on the issue of poaching on a global scale, where entire species of various creatures in the wild are nearing the brink of extinction.

"It's really scary. We just brought in six southern white rhinos from South Africa ... our staff there bringing the rhinos said people were just running up to them and thanking them, because they don't feel they can protect their rhinos. They were just so thankful we were bringing them over here to protect them," she said.

With Nola's passing, there are only three northern white rhinos left in existence. They reside under armed watch at a sanctuary in Kenya. Simmons said there are no more northern white rhinos left in the wild.