We are deeply saddened to share the shock loss of one of the Zoo’s male rhino, Inkosi, following a sudden untreatable illness this week.

African white rhino Inkosi (20) suddenly stopped eating and became extremely lethargic last weekend. After administering pain relief and antibiotics, Auckland Zoo vets then did a full examination under general anaesthetic earlier this week. Bloods obtained and tested indicated Inkosi had signs of renal (kidney) failure.

With subsequent treatments failing to help Inkosi, and additional tests revealing his condition had deteriorated, our Vet team with our Ungulates team made the tough but only right call to euthanise him late Wednesday.

A post-mortem examination was performed with tests ongoing. Initial findings have confirmed severe renal (kidney) failure, along with abnormal changes in his intestinal tract. Further analysis will provide a more complete understanding of the disease present, though this will take some time, so it will be several weeks before the cause of Inkosi’s death can be determined.

Our specialist Ungulates team who care for the Zoo’s rhino herd, say much-loved Inkosi, who came to Auckland Zoo from Hamilton Zoo in 2007, was an exceptionally lovely rhino “who you would just instantly get a really good vibe from”. “He was very gentle and friendly, loved a mud wallow, especially in the rain, always enjoyed a good scratch and a food treat of lucerne, and could quite often be caught stealing Coprosma – another food favourite - from the nyala and waterbuck!” Inkosi is a big loss to the Zoo and to the rhino programme, and he’ll be greatly missed.”

Auckland Zoo’s remaining rhino herd includes Inkosi’s dad, Zambezi (32), adult female Jamila (10) and Zambezi and Jamila’s young rhino calf, female Nyah (almost two years). Jamila is now also pregnant again to Zambezi, and due to give birth this spring.

In a month during which Auckland Zoo has also had to say a sad haere rā to elderly female orangutan Wanita, we hope you’ll join us in extending your thoughts and support to our exceptionally skilled and dedicated animal care teams.