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SOS Rhino : In the News : Record-Breaking Rhino Dies at Zoo

Record-Breaking Rhino Dies at Zoo

  By Paul O'Hare, Scottish Press Association
26 April 2004

A world record-breaking white rhino has died at a British zoo, it emerged today.

Kruger was put down in his sleeping quarters at Edinburgh Zoo early this morning with his vets and keepers by his side.

He had been given no hope of recovery after being diagnosed with serious kidney failure several weeks ago.
The 35-year-old had been a popular attraction since he arrived at the zoo in 1976.

He fathered 12 calves with his partner, Umfolozi, a world record for the number of rhinos born to the same pair.

The initiative was managed as part of a European Endangered Species Programme for the threatened species.

Darren McGarry, head keeper of the Hoofstock section, led tributes to Kruger, with whom he worked for 17 years.
He said: "We're absolutely devastated.

"Kruger was a very relaxed animal and had such a nice personality.

"We're really going to miss him, and we know how popular he's been with thousands of visitors over the years, who will feel the same way we do."

"But we're very proud of what he's achieved for our education programmes and research, as well as the breeding programme for this endangered species."

Kruger's body will be sent for a full post-mortem examination, after which it will be delivered to the National Museums of Scotland.

Dr Andrew Kitchener, curator of mammals and birds, said Kruger's remains will help improve the understanding of the species.

Dr Kitchener said: "Although it is sad that Kruger has died, by studying his skeleton we can gather important new data about the ageing process in zoo mammals, which will help zoos and wildlife managers to improve the health and welfare of living rhinos."

"Being from the wild and of known age, Kruger's skeleton has enormous scientific value and is one of only three – and the only male – white rhino skeletons in the collections of the National Museums of Scotland."

Kruger was born in the wild and was gifted to the Zoological Society of London.

He arrived in the Scottish capital from Whipsnade Wild Animal Park in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.

In the last 30 years, rhino numbers in the wild have dropped from 70,000 to 18,000.

Of that number, it is estimated there are around 11,700 white rhinos.