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HomeNational Animal NewsOldest Black Rhinoceros At Zoo Has Been Humanely Euthanized

Oldest Black Rhinoceros At Zoo Has Been Humanely Euthanized

Brookfield, IL – Nakili, the oldest male living in an accredited North American zoo, has been humanely euthanized at 33 years of age. According to the Brookfield Zoo, Nakili was diagnosed with progressive, non-reversible kidney disease in 2022 and staff had been providing supportive care to keep him as comfortable as possible.

Recently, his blood work revealed that the disease had progressed to a point where supportive care was no longer feasible to maintain his quality of life, prompting the difficult decision to euthanize him.

Nakilli arrived at the zoo in 1994 at the age of four and he was a favorite among staff and guests who appreciated his adorable head tilt and great disposition.

According to the zoo, he has one living offspring named Kianga, who was born at Brookfield Zoo in 2003 and currently resides at another Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoo.

The zoo said:

The eastern black rhinoceros is the most endangered of the three black rhinoceros subspecies—an estimated population of only 740 individuals remains in Africa. The species’ main threat continues to be poaching for its horn, which is used for medicinal and ornamental purposes.

Rest in peace Nakili.

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21 COMMENTS

    • Indeed! Imagine spending his entire life separated from his own kind, his fellow rhinos….deprived of his instinctive behaviors and everything natural to his well-being. A “prisoner”, innocent of any crime…objectified and on display to be gawked at by those who have no idea what has been sacrificed.

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      • I do agree with what you said, but, I do worry about the extinction of these animals and that zoo’s here are the only ones set up for them…certainly not ideal. The wilds in Ohio is a nice place for running free with dignity and have a few of like kinds there, and to reproduce. In there own country would be the right thing but they have no control and I think that like in Zimbabwe they sell off baby elephants, who knows if in other places in Africa they allow the poaching for more $$. Can’t trust any country.

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        • There is no conservation in breeding animals in zoos if they will never be released to the wild. Zoos lie. The animals are bred for zoo profit which equals pure exploitation.

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          • Few people know this because zoos obviously don’t broadcast it, but I remember protesting zoos in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, California, because they were selling some of their animals (notably primates) to vivisection.

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        • zoos are not the answer. They don’t care about conserving animals in the wild. They only care about breeding animals, selling tickets and they never release any of the animals they breed to the wild. They spend their entire lives stuck in a prison. And look at poor Nakili, he had off spring, but he didn’t get to keep his ‘baby’ instead he or she was sold to another zoo like a slave. How would you feel if someone stole your child and sold them to another family?

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      • I personally wish most zoos would be closed down and animals sent to sanctuaries. There are a very few zoos that take proper care of their animals and give them enough space to roam. If people want to see wild animals there are so many wonderful documentaries on Netflix and National Geographic and you can see them free in their natural habitat. No wild animal should be caged up for human profit where to perform tricks.

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      • Would naysayers have the same attitude if they knew the possibility of poachers killing him for his “horn” was present. It is in Africa. Armed guards are there to protect the species from poachers, but they can’t be everywhere at once. We need to go after the countries who seek the horns for their magic potions and for having jewelry made out of the horns. Countries need to set strict laws about forbidding parts from endangered animals to be brought into their countries.

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  1. One has to wonder what the benefit is, though, of “breeding” living beings, however “rare” to keep them caged or release them to their dwindling, dangerous habitats.
    I don’t have an answer.
    RIP Nakili. You’re well off out of this hell we’ve made of this precious planet. For those this offends, I invite you to improve it.

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  2. No wild animal should be torn away from it’s family and natural habitat. What we should be doing is ensuring that their habitats remain and is looked after and protected. As for poachers, ‘Do unto others as they do unto you’. Rangers should be authorised to do what poachers do. ‘Shoot to kill’. Poachers are the scum that need wiping off the planet, NOT the animals !!! As with so called ‘Trophy hunters’. Shoot to kill these low life too ! They are some of the most pathetic and vile scum on the planet !!!

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  3. I wish we could arm the animals! I’d like to see a few more poachers just shot and not taken to a judge. And Trophy Hunters should be hung on a wall.

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  4. Are they any safer in the wild? Although zoo’s aren’t always the answer, it is better than being hunted to death for parts of their bodies.

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  5. Breeding animals in zoos has nothing to do with conservation. And most animals confined in zoos are not being bred to release them back into their natural habitats. In fact, it is nearly impossible to release captive-bred animals, including threatened species like elephants, polar bears, gorillas, tigers and chimpanzees into the wild. Zoos aren’t breeding animals with the intent of replenishing threatened populations: Babies bring visitors through the gates, and captive breeding gives the public a false sense of security about a species’ survival. Zoos need to start saving wild places from development, resource (oil, gas) production and ban hunting. Then the animals can live on their own without being behind bars in order to survive.

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