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World’s Oldest Captive Rhino Sana Died at the Age of 55 Years

The captive white rhino was born in the year 1964 in the Umfolozi National Park, which is located in South Africa’s eastern KwaZulu-Natal province. After seven years Sana was moved to Europe.

World’s Oldest Captive Rhino Sana Died at the Age of 55 Years

South African born, the world’s oldest white rhino ‘Sana’ died at the age of 55 years at the French zoo ‘Planete Sauvage’, which was her home for the last 26 years, the zoo authorities informed recently.

The captive white rhino was born in the year 1964 in the Umfolozi National Park, which is located in South Africa’s eastern KwaZulu-Natal province. After seven years Sana was moved to Europe.

On reaching Europe, the southern African white rhino lived in various parks in Germany before arriving at Planete Sauvage, a zoological park in western France near the city of Nantes in the year 1993, just a year after the zoo was opened for public.

According to the Save the Rhino advocacy group, the life expectancy of white rhinos in the wild is nearly 50 years. 

In the last part of her life, Sana required special medical care, the park authorities said in a statement. As she was not able to roll on the mud, a natural and popular pastime that helps rhinos regulate their body temperature and prevent sunburn as well as ward off harmful insects.

The park authorities in a statement said, “Once a week, they coated her in green clay to help her skin stay hydrated and to stave off infections. Sana always had a strong character, she was the one who set the rules”.  Her death has “deeply affected” her caretakers for years, the zoo said.

According to the advocacy group ‘Save the Rhino’, an adult white rhinos weigh between 1.8 and 2.5 tonnes (5,600 pounds).

The white rhinos' natural habitats are tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas and shrublands that are found in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Botswana, Kenya, Namibia and Swaziland. 

The square-lipped grazers are larger in size than their black cousins and are divided into southern and northern subspecies. 

Last year, the last male north white rhino ‘Sudan’, died in Kenya, leaving two sole captive female survivors. Now no northern white rhinos are left in the wild.

In September this year, the conservationists created two northern white rhino embryos from the surviving females and sperm from the deceased males, so that one day they could be implanted into a surrogate mother in the hope of reviving the line of white rhinos. 

According to Save the Rhino, around 20,000 southern white rhinos that belong to Sana’s tribe are left in the world. In comparison, Black rhinos are considered critically endangered, with only about 5,000 left in the world. Rhino horn is a much sought-after ingredient in Asian traditional medicine and that’s why they often fall prey to the illegal hunters. 


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