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White rhino ‘Caroline’ dies at BioPark Zoo

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Caroline, a white rhino, was a resident at the ABQ BioPark Zoo for only a brief time, but on Tuesday she was remembered as “very kind, easy going, and enjoyable to work with,” said zoo manager Lynn Tupa.

The 38-year-old rhino died in her indoor enclosure Sunday evening from complications of a gastrointestinal condition as well as an adrenal tumor. The animal’s death leaves the zoo with two rhinos, a 28-year-old female named Bertha, and 3-year-old male named Chopper.

Caroline came to the ABQ BioPark Zoo in May from the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center near Glen Rose, Texas, where the BioPark Zoo had sent a younger male rhino, Bernard, for breeding.

White Rhinos are native to Eastern and Southern Africa, said Tupa. In the wild, they generally live into their late 20s, while in captivity their average lifespan is 34 years, Tupa said. Caroline weighed about 3,800 pounds, average for a female. Male white rhinos can weigh up to 6,000 pounds, she said.

No decision has yet been made if, or when, to replace Caroline, Tupa said.

According to a number of wildlife and rhino preservation websites, all species of rhinoceros are either threatened or endangered, a result of encroaching civilization and poaching