30 Dec 2019

Elderly rhino thought to be world's oldest dies

9:52 am on 30 December 2019

A rhino thought to be the oldest in the world has died in Tanzania, aged 57.

Black rhinoceros walking on N'Gorongo crater.

Black rhinoceros walking on N'Gorongo crater. Photo: AFP

Fausta, an eastern black rhino, was first sighted in the Ngorongoro Crater in 1965, when she was three.

She roamed the crater freely for more than 54 years, but health issues in her old age required her to spend her final few years receiving specialist care in a sanctuary.

Fausta never had calves - something conservationists in Ngorongoro suggest may have contributed to her long life.

By 2016, Fausta's eyesight was deteriorating and she was suffering from the lingering effects of hyena attacks.

"Vicious animals, especially hyenas, started attacking her and she received very serious sores," Dr Freddy Manongi, from the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority, told BBC Swahili. "By 2016, we had to get her out of the wild and put her in special care."

He added that on the day Fausta died, another rhino was born.

Mr Manongi later said in a statement that "records show that Fausta lived longest [of] any rhino in the world", and that she had died of natural causes on the evening of 27 December.

In the wild rhinos typically live to between 37 and 43 years old, or up to 50 years in captivity.

The eastern black rhino is listed as critically endangered. Its numbers are dangerously low because the animals are often poached for their horn - however, numbers are increasing.


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