World’s oldest white rhinoceros ‘Grandpa Toby’ dies aged 54

The world’s oldest white rhinoceros, Toby, has died aged 54 at a zoo in northern Italy. The animal is said to have died as a result of cardiac arrest. This is confirmed by a spokesman for the Italian zoo ‘Parco Natura Viva’ in Bussolengo, close to the city of Verona. White rhinoceroses normally live 40 years in captivity and 30 years in the wild.

‘Nonno Toby’, aka ‘Grandpa Toby’, died on October 6 at the zoo. “He collapsed on his way to his overnight stay, and after about half an hour, his heart stopped beating,” said Elisa Livia Pennacchioni, spokesman for the zoo.

Endangered species

The rhinoceros will now be embalmed and put on display at the ‘MuSe’ science museum in the northern Italian city of Trento. “There, he will keep company with Blanco, a white lion from the zoo who died five years ago,” says Pennachoni.

In the wild, there are barely two northern white rhinoceroses. Najin and Fatu, both females, live in Kenya and are constantly watched by guards who try to protect the animals from poachers.
In the wild, there are barely two northern white rhinoceroses. Najin and Fatu, both females, live in Kenya and are constantly watched by guards who try to protect the animals from poachers. ©AFP

In 2012, Toby’s female partner, Sugar, died. Now that Toby is gone, only one white rhinoceros remains in the zoo, 39-year-old Benno.

The northern white rhinoceros is an endangered species. There are barely two left in the wild. Najin and Fatu, both females, live in Kenya and are constantly watched by guards who try to protect the animals from poachers. Several months ago, scientists created embryos of the species in an attempt to save the rhinoceroses from extinction.

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