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SOS Rhino : In the News : Archived News : December 2000 : Rare rhino dies at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Rare rhino dies at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

By Javonna May-Mons
The Associated Press
December 18, 2000

COLUMBUS, OHIO - A rare African black rhinoceros died Monday at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

The zoo said Clyde was the oldest rhinoceros on record when he died at the age of 49. No cause of death was listed.

Clyde was born in the wild in 1951 and was traded in 1954 from Basel Zoo in Switzerland to the Columbus Zoo for a gorilla.

Clyde never reproduced despite being paired with females on several occasions.

"Black rhinos are solitary animals and only want to be with other rhinos during times of breeding," zoo spokeswoman Patty Peters said. "So it was difficult pairing them at the right time."

Because Clyde was captured in the wild, his representation in the gene pool for the species is important, she said. His semen has been collected and frozen.

There are only 235 black rhinoceros in captivity. There are about 2,700 black rhinoceros in the wild and about 15,000 rhinoceros of all species.

The average life span for a rhinoceros in the wild is 20 to 25 years and 30 to 35 years in captivity.

Rhinos are hunted by poachers who sell the horn for medicinal or ornamental purposes.



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