TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The Toledo Zoo was forced to humanely euthanize its 44-year-old white rhinoceros due to declining health.
Sam, a generic southern white rhinoceros, was receiving specialized geriatric care, such as pedicures and skin care, from animal care staff and keepers to ensure he was given a good quality of life.
"With Sam's incredibly advanced age, a variety of therapies and management strategies were utilized to address his unique geriatric needs. Over the past year, we treated multiple on-going medical issues, including arthritis, urinary and gastrointestinal challenges, as well. Both the animal husbandry and veterinary teams worked diligently to ensure Sam's quality of life was optimized. However, his medical challenges increased substantially over the last month. The decision was made to humanely euthanize Sam when it was medically determined that his quality of life would not rebound," said Toledo Zoo veterinarian Dr. Kirsten Thomas.
Sam was born in June 28, 1973 at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, and was donated to the Toledo Zoo from the Philadelphia Zoo in 1988. The Zoo says the average life expectancy for white rhinos is about 34 years.
"Sam was a magnificent creature that many of our visitors sought out during their Zoo trips, knew by name and enjoyed observing wallowing in mud or interacting with enrichment items. Throughout his long life, Sam was a wonderful ambassador for his endangered species and helped educate many on the plight of rhinos being poached for their ivory horns. He will be dearly missed by all that cared for and love him," said Shayla Bell Moriarty, director of communications for the Toledo Zoo.
Sam's longtime companion Lulu passed away at age 47 in 2016. The Zoo plans to bring in a new rhinoceros in the near future.