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

Departing mayor’s locally drawn portrait joins city’s pantheon

Artist Elizabeth Person’s portrait of Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson will hang with others at City Hall.

Inslee proposes tapping reserves, carbon tax in budget plan

The proposal also includes money for the mental health system and efforts to fight opioid addiction.

One dead in crash south of Granite Falls

Two cars collided near the intersection of N. Lake Roesiger Road and Hidden Valley Road.

2 women struck, injured while crossing busy roads

The first happened Wednesday night in Everett. The second was Thursday morning in Edmonds.

Lynnwood robbery leads to lockdown at Edmonds schools

Edmonds police said it was just a precaution as they search around Edmonds-Woodway High School.

Marysville 7-Eleven hit by armed robbers

Officers set up a perimeter and brought in a police dog, but the man couldn’t be found.

Snohomish man, 63, missing from home since Monday

He left without his keys, wallet and phone, saying something about going to “the river.”

Counties fed up with unfunded mandates may sue the state

For example, no money has been provided to install, maintain and clear out required ballot boxes.

Inslee budget solves school funding puzzle with piece of carbon

His plan commits to putting another $950 million into the system.

Most Read