Cincinnati Zoo announces death of endangered Indian rhino

Nikki. Photo provided by Cincinnati Zoo.
Nikki. Photo provided by Cincinnati Zoo.

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Cincinnati Zoo announced Friday that an endangered Indian rhino, named Nikki, has died.

The rhino, born at the Toronto Zoo in 1991, was known worldwide for being the first rhino of this species to successfully produce a pregnancy after artificial insemination.

The Zoo said she passed away in her indoor home around 7 a.m. Thursday morning. They have not yet determined the cause of death.

In early June, Nikki's keepers noticed that she had swelling, a decreased appetite and decreased mobility. After tests, they found that the rhino had a growth on her ovary, however, they said the symptoms were not typical with ovarian tumors.

According to zoo officials, her case will continue to be reviewed.

"Nikki was charismatic and charmed anyone who had the privilege of knowing and loving her," said Reproductive Physiologist Dr. Monica Stoops. "Without a doubt her absence will leave a great hole in our hearts and she will never be forgotten."

The rhino had two pregnancies through artificial insemination. Zoo officials say these pregnancies were critical in the development of reproductive technology that could help save the species from extinction.

Currently there are only 60 Indian rhinos living in captivity in North America and approximately 3,300 in the wild.

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