32-Year-Old Black Rhinoceros Dies At OKC Zoo - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |


32-Year-Old Black Rhinoceros Dies At OKC Zoo

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Marsha, a 32-year-old female black rhinoceros, had become lethargic with a decreased appetite. Marsha, a 32-year-old female black rhinoceros, had become lethargic with a decreased appetite.

A female black rhinoceros at the Oklahoma City Zoo has died during a medical exam Sunday morning.

According to zoo officials, Marsha, a 32-year-old female black rhinoceros, had become lethargic with a decreased appetite.

Animal Care staff made the decision to perform a thorough physical exam, and gave Marsha supportive care including fluids, pain medication and antibiotics to keep her comfortable. She started showing signs of improvement.

However, over the weekend, zoo officials say Marsha had a relapse and the decision was made to perform a second exam, from which she did not survive. A necropsy, animal autopsy, has been performed, and although results are pending, preliminary reports point to age-related issues as the cause of her illness.

"Our caretakers know their animals and, in Marsha's case, their keen observations helped us identify there was a problem early on," said Laura Bottaro, Animal Curator. "The Veterinary and Animal team's goal was to keep Marsha as comfortable as possible."

The combined median life expectancy for male and female black rhinos is approximately 17.8 years. Advances in veterinary medicine, nutrition, husbandry techniques and habitation have enabled animals to live longer in zoos and aquariums around the nation.

Marsha came to the Oklahoma City Zoo in September 1999 from Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago. She was born at the San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio. During her time at the Zoo, Marsha was recommended to breed as part of the Black Rhino Species Survival Plan (SSP) managed through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), but she never had any offspring.

Black rhinos are critically endangered due to poaching and their numbers in the wild are dwindling at a significant rate.

If you would like to share your memories of Marsha, visit the Zoo's Facebook fan page.

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