1 of 10 Sumatran rhinos in captivity dies in Ohio

CINCINNATI — The death of the Cincinnati Zoo’s lone female Sumatran rhino has dealt a blow to a breeding program aimed at saving one of the world’s most critically endangered species.

The rhino, named Suci, was one of only 10 in captivity worldwide and died Sunday after showing symptoms of a disease that killed her mother, although zoo officials say it will be months before the final results of a necropsy are available.

The breeding effort followed a crisis summit in Singapore where conservationists concluded that as few as 100 of the two-horned, hairy rhinos might remain in forests in their native Indonesia and Malaysia. The species has become endangered through loss of forests and poaching of the animals’ horns, which are believed by some Asian cultures to have medicinal properties.

“Suci was a symbol of hope for her entire species, one that is quickly losing ground in the wild, and her absence will leave a hole in our hearts,” Terri Roth, director of the zoo’s Lindner Center for Conservation &Research of Endangered Wildlife, said in a statement.

Suci was born in 2004 and was one of three Sumatran rhino calves born at the zoo to mother Emi and father Ipuh. Emi died in 2009 and Ipuh in 2013.

Keepers had hoped to mate Suci with her younger brother, Harapan, who is now the only Sumatran rhino in North America. Andalus, the other male born at the zoo, was sent to Sumatra in 2007 to bolster a breeding program there and has fathered a male calf.

Cincinnati Zoo staff had to wait for Harapan to reach breeding age, but Suci began losing weight several months ago and staff began treating her for hemochromatosis, also known as iron storage disease.

Zoo scientists, keepers and veterinarians had been treating Suci with a therapy used on humans and African black rhinos and her behavior and appetite had improved. But her condition rapidly deteriorated Sunday, Roth said.

Zoo officials could not comment yet on their breeding plans for the future, although they say they remain committed to working to save the species.

“We are just trying to get through this right now,” zoo spokeswoman Tiffany Barnes said.

The zoo has been a pioneer in captive breeding of the species, and Roth said last year that there was a lot of urgency in getting Suci pregnant.

“If we don’t act quickly and boldly, the loss of this magnificent animal will be among the great tragedies of our time,” Roth said.

More in Local News

Shock from WSU suicide ripples through Snohomish County

Roughly 1 in 10 seniors, sophomores and 8th-graders said they had attempted to take their own lives.

New leaders coming to county, state political parties

Hillary Moralez of Bothell takes over as chair for the Snohomish County Democratic Party.

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

$1,000 reward for info on who killed an eagle near Snohomish

After being shot, the raptor was treated at the Sarvey Wildlife Center but died overnight.

Possible bobcat sighting keeps Snohomish students inside

The creature was spotted on the campus of Valley View Middle School around noon.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Stabbing in Everett follows dispute between brothers-in-law

The victim, 54, was hospitalized. The suspect, 29, had not been apprehended Thursday.

Camano Island man gets 18 years for role in drug ring

He was convicted of helping lead a drug distribution network in four Washington counties.

Lake Stevens man missing since beginning of January

Jason Michael Knox White hasn’t used his credit card or withdrawn money from his bank since then.

Most Read