The world’s oldest white rhinoceros, a ‘good giant’ who used to play with hippos, has died at the age of 54.
According to the Italian zoo where he was held, the world’s oldest captive white rhino died at the age of 54.
Toby, a rhino known lovingly as “Grandpa Toby” by zoo keepers, died on October 6 at the Parco Natura Viva zoo in Veneto, northern Italy.
Cesare Avesani Zaborra, the zoo’s CEO, described the animal as a “good giant” who died in a “profoundly sad” manner.
Toby was practically an acquired grandfather to a group of young hippos, according to the zoo, who he allowed to play with his tail and horn.
The white rhino was born and raised with the hippos, who shared a zoo enclosure with him.
“As a result, another piece of twentieth-century biodiversity vanishes, while the struggle against extinction…becomes more played out in zoological parks,” the zoo added in an Italian translation.
A zoo official told the AFP news agency that white rhinos in captivity can live up to 40 years, underscoring Toby’s longevity.
The world’s second-largest land mammal, white rhinos, have a tiny population. According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are just approximately 18,000 left in the wild.
The white rhino has two subspecies: northern and southern. As of March 2018, there were only two northern types left, both of which were female. They are based in a Kenyan conservancy.
Toby was a southern white rhino, a subspecies considered to be extinct until 1895, when a small population of less than 100 was discovered in South Africa. Conservation efforts have increased their numbers since then, and they are now the only one of five rhino species that is not classed as endangered.
According to the International Rhino Foundation, poachers have murdered approximately 10,000 rhinos in Africa in the previous decade in order to sell their horns on the black market.
White rhinos can reach six feet in height and weigh approximately 8,000 pounds.
Toby will be moved to Italy’s Trento Science Museum (MuSe) so that he can “continue to give a face and a form to the thousands of rhinos that are slain,” according to Parco Natura Viva. This is a condensed version of the information.