Nola, a critically endangered 40-year-old northern white rhino, who has been under close medical watch for the past 11 days in a boma at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, is showing signs of improved health and was returned to her 65-acre field enclosure earlier today.
Shortly after exiting the boma, Nola was greeted by her companion, Chuck, a 45-year-old male southern white rhino, while Cape buffalo and ostrich, who also share her habitat, looked on.
“Nola is feeling much better so we were able to reintroduce her to her companion, Chuck, and allow her back into her large field habitat where she can roam and get plenty of exercise,” said Jane Kennedy, lead keeper, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “The reintroduction of Nola and Chuck went as expected; they briefly squabbled to establish dominance, but quickly settled down and seem to be enjoying each other’s company. We will continue to monitor Nola, and in the event of extremely cold weather, heavy rain or medical issues, we will move her back into the boma where she can stay warm and we can administer extra care.”
The elderly Nola was placed under veterinary care on Saturday, Dec. 27, after her keepers noticed she had reduced appetite and activity levels and had a thick nasal discharge. To provide the opportunity for optimal health, Nola was moved to the heated enclosure inside her African Plains field exhibit to provide her comfort from the recent chilly weather and allow the animal care team to keep close watch over her. Veterinarians determined, in addition to Nola’s age-related issues, that she has a sinus infection, but they report she is responding well to antibiotics.
Nola is one of just five northern white rhinos left in the world. Three other northern white rhinos are in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya and one is in the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic. The five remaining rhinos are all of an advanced age and have not reproduced. Poaching for its horn has brought the northern white rhino to such critically low numbers.