Rhino dies after running away from potential mate in breeding programme

One of the zoo's rhinos. Photo: Wildlands
One of the zoo’s rhinos. Photo: Wildlands

A female rhinoceros at Wildlands zoo in Emmen has died after running off when meeting a potential mate as part of the zoo’s breeding programme.

Male rhinoceros Limpopo was released into the savanne enclosure with two females for a first meeting, when an initial move on his part caused Elena, one of the females, to make a run for it.

The chase continued for around 15 minutes when Elena slipped and landed in a shallow pool. She was unable to get up, possibly because she was exhausted, the zoo said.

Limpopo stayed near her, so the zoo keepers tried to lured him away. Unfortunately, this help came too late for Elena and she had already drowned,’ the zoo said in a statement.

‘There was no indication that this would happen,’ vet Job Stumpel told local broadcaster RTV Drenthe.. ‘The animals had met, albeit separated by a fence, and had sniffed each other out.’

The team is very upset, Stumpel said. ‘We need to process what happened. The keepers felt powerless in the presence of 2,000 kilos of muscle and horn.’

Limpopo was brought to Wildlands to contribute to the zoo’s breeding programme. It is not clear if he will be given a second chance.

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