Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Auckland Zoo mourns loss of two white rhino


8 September 2003

Auckland Zoo mourns loss of two white rhino

After a week of intensive care involving five veterinarians, Auckland Zoo staff are mourning the loss of two white rhino from a bacterial disease. Mazithi died on Friday and her daughter Mbili on Saturday evening. Both were relocated to Auckland Zoo in 1999 as part of a redistribution programme of 300 excess white rhino produced in South Africa annually.

Staff are devastated by the loss and have been comforting each other. Some staff worked voluntarily over the weekend to provide support to distressed workmates.

Whilst the bacteria causing their death has still to be confirmed, it is not thought to be contagious to other animals or humans. Veterinarians have ruled out salmonella and a viral infection. Diagnostic tests should reveal the cause of the infection later this week. As a precautionary measure, the zoo has quarantined the rhino enclosure.

Veterinarians suspect a soil-based bacterium, which in some circumstances such as a minor digestive upset can multiply in the animals’ intestine and release fatal toxins into their systems. Such bacteria can cause disease in most domestic animals as well as some wild animals. The organism is normally found in the digestive tract of many species of livestock and wildlife.

Zoo staff noticed the herd of five white rhino were off their feed last week. Whilst the other animals returned to normal feeding patterns and behaviour almost immediately, staff became concerned when Mzithi and Mbili appetites continued to reduce.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Faecal and blood tests to determine a possible cause of their condition indicated a possible bacterial infection and treatment with antibiotics commenced. As the two animals showed no sign of responding, Dr John Potter, an Auckland Zoo veterinarian, sought advice and assistance from specialists in large animal medicine and bacterial diseases. Treatment through antibiotics and pain relief continued to be administered but because of the nature of the animals, fluid therapy was not possible.

The white rhino population has recovered from numbering less than 100 in the 1950’s to several thousand held in Southern African game reserves and zoos around the world.


© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Perils Of Joining AUKUS Pillar Two

The lure for New Zealand to join the AUKUS military alliance is that membership of only its “second pillar” will still (supposedly) give us access to state of the art military technologies. As top US official Kurt Campbell said during his visit to Wellington a year ago:
...We've been gratified by how many countries want to join with us to work with cutting-edge technologies like in the cyber arena, hypersonics, you can go down a long list and it's great to hear that New Zealand is interested...


Government: Backs Police To Crackdown On Gangs
The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell. “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase... More

Government: Retiring Chief Of Navy Thanked For His Service

Defence Minister Judith Collins has thanked the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, for his service as he retires from the Royal New Zealand Navy after 37 years. Rear Admiral Proctor will retire on 16 May to take up an employment opportunity in Australia... More

Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More

Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More




InfoPages News Channels


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.