A rarely found female Sumatran rhino has died at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio. Suci, who was one of only 10 Sumatran rhinos in captivity, died on Sunday, after displaying symptoms of a disease that previously claimed the life of her mother.
The precise cause of death is not known, and zoo officials have already confirmed that it could be some months before the results of the necropsy are available.
Sadly, the zoo’s efforts to breed Suci with a sibling, in order to curtail the extinction of the species, did not come to fruition. This is a serious matter, as experts estimate that there are as few as only 100 Sumatran Rhinos in the world.
The main reason that Sumatran Rhinos have become so endangered is due to the loss of forests and the poaching of animal horns, which are revered in some Asian cultures for their medicinal properties.
The director of the zoo’s Lindner Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife, Terri Roth, said in a touching statement: “Suci was a symbol of hope for her entire species, one that is quickly losing ground in the wild, and her absence will leave a hole in our hearts.”
Zoo keepers had been trying desperately to mate Suci with her bother, Harapan, the only other Sumatran rhino in America. Her other brother, Andalas, was sent to Sumatra in 2007 as part of a breeding program there aimed at saving the species from extinction.
Terri Roth added in her statement on Monday that: “If we don’t act quickly and boldly, the loss of this magnificent animal will be among the great tragedies of our time,” underlining the critical situation for Sumatran Rhino’s.
The Inquisitr reported back in October 2013 about the plight of the endangered species featuring some unique footage of a Sumatran rhino in Indonesia. Here is that footage: