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San Diego’s northern white rhino now 1 of 4 left in world

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SAN DIEGO — Nola, the northern white rhinoceros at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, is one of only four members of the species left in the world today following the death of an elderly female in the Czech Republic.

Nabire was around 32 years old when she died Monday of complications from a cyst at the Dvur Kralove Zoo.

“Our condolences go out to the Dvur Kralove Zoo for this particularly difficult loss,” said Randy Rieches, curator of mammals for the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “Watching this wonderful subspecies move one step closer to extinction breaks the hearts of all of us who have worked with and love rhinos.”

In addition to Nola, an elderly female, the remaining members of the species are a male and two females at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

The northern white rhino population was reduced in the wild by poachers who mistakenly believe the keratin in their horns has medicinal value, according to San Diego Zoo Global. The ones in captivity have generally not reproduced.

The organization has frozen genetic samples of a dozen northern white rhinos at the San Diego Zoo Global Institute for Conservation Research. The program is being funded by a $100,000 donation from the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation.

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